“I was at the golf course working a fundraiser when a friend came running to tell me Alexa had been in an accident,” says Kim, Alexa’s mother. “When I saw her, my heart stopped—the bones in her face were so shattered she was unrecognizable.”
Upon arriving at the hospital, Alexa was treated by trauma nurses John and Paul, who put Alexa at ease and stayed with her throughout the day. After several tests and Xrays, physicians determined that in addition to her facial injuries, Alexa had a broken neck, a ruptured spleen, broken rib, punctured lung, cut liver and fractured hip.
Alexa received care at Nicklaus Children's from a team of healthcare experts, including Leopoldo Malvezzi, MD, pediatric surgeon, and S. Anthony Wolfe, MD, craniofacial surgeon and Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, who performed surgery on Alexa to realign her facial bones.
“The team at Nicklaus Children's immediately sprang into action to help Alexa,” says Kim. “Everything was amazing, especially the care and compassion they bestowed upon her. My husband, Bruce, and I truly felt she was receiving the best care possible.”
An Outpouring of Support
Alexa stayed in the hospital for 10 days, recovering from her injuries and recuperating after surgery.
“Alexa loved all the ways the hospital provided entertainment,” says Kim. “One of her favorite memories was of the doctors who came in dressed like clowns. She also enjoyed her visit from Taco, the hospital dog, and the craft projects.”
All the expressions of love from Alexa’s Ocean Reef community while she was hospitalized lifted her spirits. She received stuffed animals from residents and handmade cards from her friends. Students in her sister Trish’s classroom recorded themselves reading a book and sent the tape to Alexa.
“We would hold the tape to Alexa’s ear each time she had blood drawn, which calmed her and took her mind off the needle,” says Kim. “The gifts meant a lot to her, and I think they even may have helped her recover more quickly. She did have the happiest room at the hospital, according to her doctors.”
A Lucky Star
Alexa has now returned home and continues to recover. Further surgery will be required for her injuries in the future, but in the meantime, she is happy to be at home with her sister and her parents.
“We feel fortunate such good care was available to Alexa at Nicklaus Children's,” says Kim. “We are eternally thankful for the skilled surgeons and medical staff at Nicklaus Children's who cared for her. We couldn’t have asked for anything more.”