A 12-year-old North Carolina girl has been taken off a ventilator more than three weeks after she was seriously injured in a traffic accident. Doctors placed the girl into a medically induced coma following the accident. Although the girl has begun to talk, her mother explained that her speech is still slow and slurred. Doctors say the girl suffered severe brain injuries, adding that they would not be able to determine the full extent of her injuries until the swelling in her brain subsides.
The sixth-grade girl sustained catastrophic injuries after her grandmother failed to yield to another car at a four-way intersection. The two vehicles collided, causing the victim and her 16-year-old cousin's head to collide.
The girl suffered two skull fractures and bruising to the brain, while her cousin was knocked unconscious and experienced seizures. Doctors say the cousin continues to recover from her injuries.
The victim has received speech, physical and occupational therapy since wakening from her coma, but doctors suggested her recovery would still likely take many more weeks. She is expected to return home soon, but doctors said she might need to wait for her skull to completely heal before returning to school.
Because the girl's mother will not be able to work while she cares for her daughter, the family faces expensive medical bills and rehabilitative costs that their insurance policy will not pay. The girl's family and friends have organized a benefit for the victim to help cover some of these expenses.
Thousands of North Carolina residents are injured in crashes like this every year, often due to the negligence or carelessness of other motorists. In some cases, victims of such accidents may be able to recover damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit. If successful, the damages will help pay for medical bills and compensate them for their pain.
Source: Pocono Record, "Stroudsburg girl, 12, off ventilator, could return home soon," Howard Frank, July 19, 2012