Doctor Calls Age 9 Girl's Case 'Absolute Miracle' After Horrific Ski Accident
It’s not very often that a doctor is willing to call a recovery a miracle, but there is absolutely no one who can deny that God was involved in this incredible story.
It all began when nine-year-old Josie Kovacic and her family decided to go on a skiing trip.
Her grandfather, Joe Kovacic, and other family members decided to visit Seven Springs for the trip. He said it was a beautiful day and the slopes were not especially busy. Josie had been skiing many times prior to that.
Josie said she doesn’t remember much about when a snowboarder lost control and crashed into her, according to SFGATE News.
“Around 10:30, we got a call saying there was an accident,” Josie’s mother, Traci Kovacic told WYFF. “When she was hit, she was thrown 20 feet in the air and she landed face down.”
After the impact, Josie’s heart quit beating for about 10 minutes. Her head and neck were detached by about two inches.
Josie’s family began to scream for help.
Joe Kovacic’s best friend, a doctor, just happened to be with them that day and rushed down the slope to start CPR. An off-duty nurse also just happened to be there and rushed over to help with the rescue effort.
“When the ski patrol arrived, they had told me that they don’t usually bring the defibrillator and those sorts of things to a stop like that, but they just happened to have that on them,” Traci Kovacic said. “It took them about 10 minutes with the defibrillator to get her revived and get her heart beating again.”
Tracy’s husband had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly about 6 years ago after completing a marathon.
Joe Kovacic said the sudden passing of his son was the first thing he thought of as he watched EMS try to revive his granddaughter.
Tracy said her husband had been healthy. “It’s been a long six years for our family here. So, to relive all of that sort of trauma, and those phone calls and the unknown has been very difficult.”
She said she did a lot of praying that the Lord would have mercy and she wouldn’t have to endure another heartbreaking loss of a loved one. She also believes her husband must have been present and watching over their daughter.
Josie was airlifted to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where Dr. Michael McDowell, assistant professor of neurological surgery at the hospital, just happened to work.
He said Josie’s injury is called an “atlanto-occipital dislocation,” which is, “a dislocation of the neck separating the top of the neck from the bottom of the skull.”
“One of the reasons this is such an interesting case is the fact that, often, this is a lethal injury, and truthfully, we don’t actually know how often it is in terms of lethality because it’s so high, and so many of these patients are diseased before arriving at the hospital,” McDowell said.
“It’s an absolute miracle. Again, these patients very frequently die from this injury before they even make it to the hospital. Not only so much because of the nerve injury, but because when you don’t have a connection between your spine and your head, the blood vessels that connect them are under a lot of stress and it usually causes life-threatening strokes,” McDowell said.
It was believed that Josie would never speak or eat normally again. However, this amazing young lady continues to defy the odds — she is not only eating full meals normally, but she is also walking, talking, reading and writing.
McDowell said he sees her recovery as one of the great successes of his career, and he’s looking forward to continuing to treat her.
In a Facebook post, Tracy noted the day her daughter was, “trach free,” and how hard she has been working to continue her journey as an overcomer.