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"Mercy Children's Saves Life of 7-Year-Old"

Jan. 19 was supposed to be a fun day for the P. family. With the children enjoying a day off of school, Natalie took her daughters, Carlin, 7, and Annika, 4, to an indoor swimming pool with a group of friends. Fun was soon replaced with fear – on her fourth trip up the stairs to the high dive, Carlin reached the top of the stairs, slipped, fell and landed headfirst on the concrete below, fracturing her skull.

“She didn’t lose consciousness,” Natalie said. “She was crying and a large goose egg was already forming on her head. I asked the lifeguard to call 911. I knew her life was in danger. The paramedics took her to Wood County Hospital. They were great – got her right in, stabilized her, did a CAT scan and told me they needed to Life Flight her to St. V’s. The doctor at Wood County assured me that the neurosurgeons at St. V’s were great – he said they’d even performed surgery on his own child and all had gone well. By this point Carlin was alternately crying and throwing up. Life Flight arrived, and a friend drove me to Toledo. I will never forget traveling up I-75 and seeing Life Flight fly overhead, knowing my daughter was on board.”

Natalie’s husband, Jeff, works in Toledo and managed to get to St. V’s right before Life Flight brought Carlin in.

“I felt better knowing he would be there for her as soon as she arrived,” Natalie said. “The trauma team at St. V’s was thorough but quick – which was so important in Carlin’s case. She was already fixed and dilated on one side from the pressure of the epidural hematoma (a traumatic accumulation of blood between the inner table of the skull and the stripped-off dural membrane) as she went into the OR. We were terrified, but everyone kept telling us how great Dr. Healy was and how lucky we were that he was on call that day.

Michael Healy, MD, Pediatric Neurosurgeon, performed an emergency craniotomy that was supposed to last half an hour but took two hours. Carlin went into DIC during surgery - Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation – a condition in which small blood clots develop throughout the bloodstream, blocking small blood vessels and depleting the platelets and clotting factors needed to control bleeding, causing excessive bleeding. Dr. Healy was able to control and repair the bleeding and evacuate the epidural hematoma.

“I was amazed that when she woke up after surgery, Carlin could immediately move everything and could talk and didn’t seem to have any change to her personality – she was just the same kid,” Natalie said. “I still feel like it’s a miracle – she is running around, riding her bike, playing soccer. Seeing her today, you would never guess anything had happened to her.”

Carlin spent a week as an inpatient at St. Vincent Mercy Children’s Hospital after her surgery.

“The Peds ICU nurses were so great,” Natalie said. “And, we appreciated the benefits of being in a Catholic hospital too. During Carlin’s surgery, my husband and I needed to get away from the crowded waiting area. We went and sat in a little dedication area that was devoted to St. Marie Marguerite (D’Youville, foundress of the Grey Nuns). Once she was back in school, Carlin decided to do her first-grade saint project on St. Marie Marguerite. In doing research, we learned that, among other things, St. Marie Marguerite is the patron saint against the death of children. Carlin’s life had definitely been in danger that day, and we are so grateful to everyone at St. V’s for their role in saving her, especially Dr. Healy. We just can’t say enough about him – he saved our daughter’s life.”

The team that cared for Natalie and her family exhibited the Mercy brand elements of “work together to help me feel better” and “do what’s best for me,” resulting in the best, most personal care.

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