Woman Wakes Up From Two-Month Coma With No Legs
A woman from the United States woke up from an induced coma two months after a car accident to discover her legs had been amputated, and fourth degree burns covering over 65% of her body.
Casey Bellofatto, 25, from Maryland, had been driving while under the influence of alcohol on January 11, 2013, when she lost control of her vehicle. She ended up crashing into another car, before becoming trapped inside her own vehicle as it burst into flames.
Casey, who had been 18 at the time of the crash, was flown to the University of Maryland Hospital by helicopter where she was told about the extent of her burns. She was then put in an induced coma for a period of two months.
Casey had initially been admitted to hospital for shock trauma on account of her head injuries. These injuries had led to two mini strokes for which medics had to place stents in the arteries of her neck.
She was then taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview, where she had 50 surgeries including skin grafts, initial leg amputations, gallbladder stone removal surgery and hernia surgeries. She also had pins placed in her pelvic bone and had her stomach muscles put back together.
My burns are hidden with a shirt and/or pants. My legs were amputated initially very low, below the knee.
With burns and the wounds being open, infections developed, and blood flow was also lost and my legs were amputated right above the knee on my left limb and my right residual limb only has two inches of femur left. My recovery was and is very extensive.
Despite having felt in herself that she had lost her legs, it was Casey’s dad who broke the upsetting news after she awoke from her two-month-long coma. Left devastated, Casey had to adjust to a new normal, learning how to walk again using prosthetic legs.
According to Casey:
I knew in the back of my head I had [lost my legs], I just needed someone (my dad) to tell me it was real, I asked if I could use a wheelchair.
I was so young at the time and I was (still am) so stubborn that I just knew the worst thing that would happen is I have to use prosthetics to walk and I have scars on me, I’m pretty dang lucky, all things considered.
After I came to the realisation that I had lost both my legs in a horrible car fire, I knew my life would never be the same; there was no going back.
This was my new normal. I went up to Boston to an amazing rehabilitation hospital and quickly learned just how well off I was considering how bad things could’ve easily been.
I had to gain every little muscle back that I lost whilst lying in a hospital bed in the burn intensive care unit (ICU) for five months; muscles I had no idea were even there.
I had to learn how to balance while sitting again and this time with no legs. I had to learn to do everything again, and this time a totally different way.
Caseys’ recovery was a lengthy one. After spending five months in the burn ICU, she then went on to spend two months at a rehabilitation hospital.
She has also had to stay in hospital for an extended period for her surgeries in the years afterwards, and it took her some time to adjust to her ‘new normal’. However, nowadays, she feels ‘no different than anyone else’.
Following the accident, Casey appreciates her life in a whole different way. However, there have been some parts of her life which have been left forever altered. For example, her social life was deeply impacted after some friends cut off contact with her.
Before the accident, Casey had lived a very active social life, going out with friends every day and night. However, all this changed after she suffered her injuries.
I had plenty of friends there for me initially, but after a while I lost so many friends. I lost the ability to do so many things that an able-bodied person can do without any effort.
It was harder for me to do certain things and go certain places, so I didn’t get invited places or included in things.
There was a period when I felt very alone and isolated. I know it must have affected my family since we were no longer going on trips.
Even though I’m now independent, there was a time that I wasn’t, and they definitely had to change things in order to accommodate my disability.
Thankfully, Casey’s family were ‘amazing’ throughout her ordeal, and she had somebody at the hospital with her every day.
My accident changed my life in ways more than just the obvious losing my legs. I have a different perspective on life that I don’t think I would have even gotten from age, but because I survived what I did.
Nowadays, Casey isn’t bothered by the sorts of things which may feel like a big deal to others. Having endured such a difficult and painful time, she always remembers that ‘when things get ‘bad’, they could always be worse’.
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