My son Newell was involved in an automobile accident Tuesday afternoon November 26, 2019. He was immediately paralyzed from the neck down, no leg or arm movement, he couldn’t open the car door.
He was taken to Regional One Medical Center in Memphis, TN, where test revealed he had fractured his neck at C3 and C4, damaged soft tissue in the spinal column, and had no blood flow in one of the vertebral arteries. We were told that the plan was to wait a few days to let the bruised tissue settle down and then preform surgery to stabilize the fractures.
By the following day Wednesday November 27, his condition had deteriorated. He was having a problem managing his slavia on his own and had to be suctioned often, his voice was weaker and there was a blood clot pressing on his trachea. This clot was from bleeding due to the spinal injury. We were told the dangers for the next few days would be that his breathing might fail with a 70% chance he would require a breathing tube, the blood clot behind his trachea and a blood clot in an artery that was damaged in the accident could cause a stroke. This artery was completely blocked but the brain was getting blood flow from the artery on the other side. This clot would normally be dissolved with blood thinners however blood thinners could cause more bleeding and enlargement of the clot behind his trachea.
When I arrived Thursday morning, Thanksgiving Day, Newell’s room was filled with medical staff. I asked what was happening and the neurosurgeon I had met the previous day said to me “your son has had a major stroke, gone into a coma and is dying.” I asked if any thing could be done and the surgeon told me it was possible to surgically relieve pressure in the brain but that we should carefully consider this before making a decision. She went on to say that all indications were that the stroke was in the brain stem and that he would not wake up from surgery if he even survived being flipped over to perform the surgery since his spine was not stable. I yelled “Jill just do it, you have no choice.” The neurosurgeon turned to me and said, yes there is a choice, you can do nothing, if you do surgery you will have to make the decision to withdraw life support when he doesn’t wake up. It was a heart breaking experience that we can’t adequately describe. The Dr. repeatedly recommended no action. It was almost certain we had already lost him. His children were called to the hospital and other family.
Jill told the Dr. to proceed with inserting a drain and the surgery. We all agreed we had to do it not just because we wanted it but Newell would want it most of all. Before he went into a coma he had made it clear that while he does not want to be a quadriplegic he accepted it because he had his family and his strong belief that we don’t know God’s plan.
The surgeon immediately agreed but said she wanted to get an MRI to make sure the stroke wasn’t in the brain stem. The CT indicated it was in the brain stem but to be certain they normally followed with an MRI. Within a couple of minutes she said it was a holiday, would take four hours to get an MRI by which time Newell would be dead. She ordered that a hole be drilled into the top left side of Newell’s head and a tube inserted to relieve brain pressure. This was accomplished within a few minutes in Newell’s room and he was quickly rushed off to OR. His family and friends gathered quickly to support Jill and wait together for his surgery to be completed. Finally we got the call that it was a success. By that night when we called his name you could tell he was trying to open his eyes.
Newell is very aware that God is working in his life and so I am. I praise God for allowing us to keep Newell with us.
12-9-19 I will start posting the current updates now and will add historical updates over the next few days. If you visit and want to post a picture or something send it to me. Thanks. Cathy. Johns d Jill will also be able to add, edit or post to the journal so you can contact them also. Cathy