Michael Canfield

First post: Jul 23, 2018 Latest post: Jul 19, 2019
Early in the morning on July19, our son, Michael Canfield, was involved with five friends in a serious roll-over accident in American Fork Canyon. He is currently recovering. This is his/our story.

About 12:30 a.m. Michael and his friends were heading home from Silver Lake. Approaching a sharp curve, the driver attempted to slow, slid into soft gravel on the shoulder, and his truck began rolling sideways 100 yards down a steep mountain. The vehicle rolled 6-7 times, taking out some huge trees along the path. 

Three passengers sustained only minor injuries and helped the three others who were injured. One had tendon and ligament injuries from her knee to her foot. She was treated and released late that morning. The driver had a serious cut to his head and knee, as well as collapsed lungs. He was hospitalized overnight and released the following day. 

Michael was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected, ending up under a large pine tree that the truck knocked down. A friend heard him “snoring in the tree” (aspirating) and pulled it off of him. 

Miraculously, the truck landed just above Granite Flats campground where three EMTs were camping on a Wednesday night. One is an Air-Med nurse and had equipment with him. Someone had a satellite phone. They heard the truck coming down the mountain, called for help, and started hiking to the site. An EMT reached Michael 8 minutes after the crash. He had Michael in a neck brace and intubated to keep his airway open before emergency responders arrived. 

The EMT who treated him initially stayed with him for 90 minutes until he was transported. He also gave Michael a priesthood blessing on the mountain. 30-40 campers and others friends who had been at the cabin helped with blankets, shock treatment, and cleared a path down the mountain to evacuate the injured. We are so grateful to the EMTs who were camping, emergency personnel, and  all those who helped the six involved in the crash. God’s hand is evident over and over in protecting all, including Michael.

Michael was life-flighted to Utah Valley Hospital, arriving at 2:10 a.m. where they found he had an 8-inch rupture in his diaphragm and collapsed left lung. His stomach, spleen, and small bowel ended up in his chest cavity crushing his lung. He also sustained head trauma. Michael was found breathing and never stopped breathing, but did have only 60% oxygen saturation when he arrived in the ER.

Miracles and tender mercies continued to abound. Following another priesthood blessing from Michael’s father and brother (Brad and Nathan), an amazing surgeon was able to reposition Michael’s organs and repair his diaphragm all laparoscopically. (The alternative is a vertical cut opening the entire abdomen.) Afterward he told us it was only the second time in 30 years he was able to complete this operation through a scope. 

It is now Sunday, July 22. Michael remains in ICU in critical, but stable condition. He is sedated and intubated to help him breathe and allow his diaphragm to heal. An MRI on Friday showed he does have brain shear injuries. Until he wakes and is responsive to commands (give me a thumbs up) we will not know the extent of his brain damage. His sedation is backed off several times a day to try and wake him. Currently this agitates him and he makes purposeful moves with his left arm to reach the ventilator tube. He is so strong he has restraints on his arms to keep him from pulling tubes out. You all know how massive his arms are!  

A CT scan last night showed brain edema/swelling is peaking. It should plateau and drop off over the next 4 days or so. Michael’s room is being kept dark and stimulation must be kept to a minimum so his brain can heal. He isn’t waking because of the shear injuries. New neural pathways need to be created to help restore brain functions and help him wake up. He is sleeping most of the time. We will let you know when he ready to receive visitors. Currently we are keeping visitors to a minimum. Please call or text Brad or Karen before going to the hospital to check Michael’s status.

Brad, Karen, and Nathan are all doing well. We are taking care of ourselves, making sure we eat and sleep well.  We are confident in the incredible care Michael is receiving in the ICU. The nurses are as protective of him as we are.

Thank you for all of your love, concern, fasting, and prayers. Right now, we as for prayers to be very specific — wake up and respond to commands! Thank you again. Please share Michael’s CaringBridge link freely! We will keep you posted!

The Canfields