Help Owen Heal
I never wanted to be asking for money, but I also never wanted to get that phone call. On Friday, April 2, 2021, my 18 year old son, Owen was driving home from work around 930pm. As he drove south, a minivan driven by a 17 year old boy tried to make a right-turn and slammed head-on into Owen. Miraculously, Owen survived the impact, was able to get himself out of his destroyed car, walk to the side of the road and called my cell phone. He said, "I need to talk to dad, I've just been in a bad car accident." I had already taken my sleeping medication, so I didn't really comprehend. My husband/Owen's dad (Drew) called Owen back from his cell phone and ran out of the house. When Drew arrived on the scene, he was horrified. He didn't see how Owen survived! Police and paramedics were also on scene and the initial assessment of Owen was that his blood pressure was low, but he was calm and otherwise seemed ok. Drew would shortly learn Owen was NOT ok. He scooped Owen up into his car and immediately drove him to the emergency room. Things quickly began to become more urgent as Owen's blood pressure continued to drop! Owen was quickly whisked into emergency surgery while Drew sat alone in the family waiting room through out the night. After a 3-hour surgery, the trauma surgeon came to Drew and somberly described Owen's injuries. Owen had a fractured right arm, fractured right leg (that would need surgery when Owen was more stable), a severely damaged left ankle with torn ligaments and tendons, and his small intestines were torn 3 places and his large intestines was torn in 1 place. The surgeon was able to stop Owen's internal bleeding, but had to leave Owen's intestines unattached and his stomach open through the surgical wound. Owen was also now on a ventilator and sedated while the machines breathed for him and kept him alive. At 5am Saturday morning , Drew came home from the hospital to me to explain. I quickly said I was going to the hospital! Drew asked if I was emotionally understanding what he was telling me. Of course I did! But when I walked into Owen's ICU room, I was NOT prepared for what I saw! Owen was swollen head to toe and had tubes and wound dressings all over his body!
The next day Owen went back into surgery to have his intestines repaired. The surgeon did not think he would be able to reattach the large intestines and therefore, would need to use a colostomy bag for approximately 6 months. I could not fathom how an 18 year old kid would deal with a colostomy bag for a minimum of 6 months, possibly the rest of his life. After the surgery, the surgeon explained that on the night of the accident, because Owen's blood pressure was so low, his heart wasn't pumping as much blood to the ruptured intestines and therefore, began to clot off the bleeding. The surgeon was shocked to have seen as much damage to Owen's insides because Owen seemed so calm in the ER. Because the surgeon had to removed approximately 12 inches of Owen's intestines, miraculously he was able to reattach all parts, avoiding the colostomy bag. Later that day Owen was removed from the life-saving ventilator and he was able to breath on his own.
Drew and I sat by Owen's bedside in that ICU, taking shifts to eat, sleep, and shower while our other kids stepped in, no questions asked, to take care of each other. Owen eventually had a third surgery to repair his broken right ankle where 3 surgical screws were needed to stabilize every thing. Owen spent 12 days in the ICU before being released to go home. We moved an adjustable-base bed into his 21 year old sister's bedroom, got Owen a knee scooter and made other minor modifications to aid in Owen being as mobile as he can be. He still has his wound VAC in place on his belly which is helping him heal. The surgical incision goes from his sternum to below his belly button. His left ankle has healed ever-so-slightly, enough so he can get on/off a knee scooter.
After speaking with our insurance, we learned that only about $50,000 of Owen's bills will be paid. We have spoken to 2 different attorney's and both have said there isn't much more we could do. Insurance limits are already going to be paid and unless the kid that hit Owen comes from a family "with money" there isn't much to sue for! We have medical insurance, which of course will cover Owen's medical bills, we have about $8,000 worth of out-of-pocket we will need to pay before the insurance will pay 100%. Drew has not worked for 2 weeks and I was able to take the 1st week off and work significantly reduced hours the 2nd week. Again, there is short-term disability and FMLA coverage, but there still is going to be a financial hit we all take.
Needless to say, what the insurance will pay will barely scratch the surface of Owen's medical needs. He has a home health nurse that will come to our home every other day for 3-6 weeks to change the wound VAC for Owen. I have to give him blood-thinning shots twice a day for the next 2 weeks. He will have his casts on his right leg and arm for a minimum of 6 weeks. And he will need MONTHS of physical therapy to restore his pre-collision body.
I humbly ask for your assistance in helping Owen heal. He is a sweet boy with a tender heart and has many times asked how WE all were doing even though his body is broken! He knows how much our entire family has been changed and it would be a great relief for both him, and the rest of our family to not have to worry so much about the financial cost of this tragedy. We can never repay the kindness and generosity of our families, friends and co-workers! We are eternally grateful for your love, support, prayers, positive thoughts and words!
Photo: Getty Images