By Daniel J. Vance MS, LPCC
In mid-February, I featured Daniel Mignerey of Sardinia, Ohio, my cousin's 21-year-old son, who had just experienced traumatic brain (TBI) and severe shoulder injuries from an automobile accident. I've had readers ask about Daniel, so I telephoned his father for an update. What he said illustrated the fragility of life.
David Mignerey, a former high school softball coach, said, “I was told by a girl that used to play softball for me, who was in the car behind the one Daniel made contact with, that an off-duty emergency medical technician (EMT) from another town had been first on the scene after the accident. From what I was told, the EMT herself called for a helicopter airlift, possibly even before the local emergency team was alerted.”
If the EMT hadn't acted quickly, Daniel might not have survived, said Mignerey.
He said, “Then the orthopedic surgeon at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center that evening said, 'I don't want to sound morbid, but we've never had anyone with this type of (shoulder) injury who has survived.' The surgeon was talking about what they'd do to repair the shoulder and couldn't tell us if it would work because they had never done the surgery before.”
One of Daniel's shoulder blades had been separated from his body. He now has plates and screws holding everything together.
He spent two months in HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital at Drake before returning home to begin regular physical, occupational, and speech therapy. To relieve pressure on the brain, surgeons initially had to remove a section of Daniel's skull, which has not yet been put back in.
Said his father, “Daniel's memory and mind seems a little better every day, but we have to protect his head at all times. If he's not flat in bed, he has to wear a (protective) helmet. He can walk most of the time with a cane, but someone has to be there should he fall. His problem solving and reasoning (skills) haven't suffered much. The majority of his problems are with short-term memory.”
He said of people with a TBI: “I would hope they'd have a great support system. Our church, and others in the community, were absolutely amazing for all they did. For example, during the first few days when Daniel's life was in doubt, our church literally had people praying every second of the day around the clock.”
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