Luka Williams Ortiz

First post: Oct 14, 2019 Latest post: Oct 5, 2021
On October 5th, Luka had a very bad accident while playing rugby. He was immediately taken to the local hospital in Arica where they did exams and found out that his C5 vertebrae had been dislodged. We decided that he needed to be transferred to a specialty hospital, and with the help of his friends, we were able to arrange for him to fly via a specialty ambulance airplane to Santiago on October 7th. 

He arrived at the neurosurgical hospital in Santiago where they did exams and scheduled his first surgery. The first surgery, on October 8th, stabilized the front of his neck by placing a plate and screws in the vertebra. The surgery also revealed that the spinal cord had been damaged, it is not severed, but because of the impact of the vertebrae pressing on it, it had been damaged. Because of this damage to the spinal cord, Luka currently cannot feel or move below his upper chest. He can breathe on his own, speak, swallow, move his shoulders and has some feeling in his arms and hands. (These are all wonderful things!) He has already started working with physical therapists to stimulate the muscles in his arms and legs and the rehabilitation process will determine what movement and feeling can be recovered. Right now, he will have one more surgery to stabilize the back of his neck, and then we can move forward with the rehabilitation process.  

If you have spent any time with Luka, you know how positive and optimistic he always is. This difficult time is no exception. He has been so positive and has shown an incredible amount of strength, that in return has given me and the rest of his family and friends strength. I (Luka's wife) will be posting updates here so that our family and friends around the world can stay posted on his progress. We have received so much love and support and truly appreciate all the good energy, love and prayers that have been sent his way.  Thank you!