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Thread: c1 break c2 fracture

  1. #1

    c1 break c2 fracture

    One week ago my cousin was in a car accident. She broke in half the c1 and has a hairline fracture in the c2. She is alert and can answer questions by blinking her eyes and has, in the past 2 days, started to mouth words. She has been on a ventilator but a treach was put in yesterday and her breathing is 70% as of this morning. Several hours after the accident a nurse was trying to remove Emily's wedding ring and Emily, who was unconscious, was fighting the nurse and wouldn't let go. She has had no other hand movement since. She has been able to feel the doctors and nurses pinching her arms and legs. They will touch a part of her body and she can mouth exact locations where they are touching ie: right big toe, left pinky.

    We know there is a really long road ahead for Emily. These things give us hope. I can't find anything online that shows someone with this injury being able to feel touch like this. Is this normal? Is this a really good sign?

    The doctor said there is cord damage but I don't know how much. He also said that she streched the vertebrae down to the c7 and made a comment that this is a worse injury than Christopher Reeve. This confuses me as Emily is breathing so well and can feel touch.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Hi Heather and welcome to CC. I'm very sorry to hear about your cousin. You are right about her having a long road ahead of her, but I would assume that her injury is incomplete based on what you said about her ability to feel touch. It's only been a week, so I would assume that there's still lots of swelling around her cord. I think it's safe to hope that once the swelling goes down, some of her function may return.

    Hopefully, one of the nurses will respond. The RN would be better able than I to advise you on what questions to ask the doctors to get a better idea of how complete the injury is and what her functional level might be.
    "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

  3. #3
    I forgot to mention that she broke 2 ribs and they punctured both lungs. They are healing well. We are just waiting until they are completely healed and hope she will breathe 100% on her own.

    She wasn't expected to live through that first night. She was not breathing at the scene and her pupils did not respond in the ER.

    She's a fighter!

  4. #4
    Can she move her hand or follow any commands at all with her hands or feet? Is she sedated? A complete injury would not leave any sensation intact, but withdrawal to pain is not the same as normal sensation. A C1-2 fracture with a complete SCI would result in the inability to breathe on her own at all.

    When you said she is breathing 70%, what do you mean?

    Not sure what you mean by "streched the vertebrae down to the c7". Does she have a fracture or dislocation there too? What is being done to stablize her cervical fractures?

    If she has a SCI, then ask the physician to tell you both the level of the cord damage and the ASIA type.

    Where is she? Is it a major trauma center? How old is she? How is her health otherwise?


  5. #5
    She is in good health, 28 years old. She is at a hospital-not sure about trauma unit. She was to be taken from the scene by life flight-don't know if that makes it a trauma hospital but because of the ice on the road-the cause of the accident-they couldn't get to her and she was taken by ambulance. I believe they are going to move her to a hospital/rehab in Chicago that is supposed to be one of the best in the country for this injury. Don't have a lot of details about that. They have not done surgery but I have heard they plan to.

    She has not moved her hands or feet. I believe she is sedated but when they say her name she opens her eyes, can nod her head slightly to answer questions.

    I don't have the info on the exact severity of the injury. I just think it is strange that this doctor has said things were worse than they thought yet she can feel touch.

    As far as stretching down to the c7-that's all I know. I think he said something about space between each of the vertebrae-not positive. I am getting this info. second hand and the people talking to the doctors are just trying to make sense of it.

  6. #6
    What I mean by breathing 70% is that she is breathing on her own 70% and the machine is doing 30%. And they are weaning her from the machine.

  7. #7
    If they are talking about her going to the Rehab Institute of Chicago, that is an excellent place. It would be even better if they could move her NOW to the acute SCI ICU at Northwestern, which is associated with RIC. It would be the best place for her to get her acute care and continue to work on her ventilator weaning.


  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Florida, USA
    I agree with KLD. My family heard the Christopher Reeves comparison at the trauma center and I can walk. I would get her to Northwestern and Rehab Institute of Chicago ASAP! She will get get great sci care and information.

  9. #9
    She will be going to the Rehab Institute of Chicago and I have told my Aunt to see if it is possible to have surgery at Northwestern instead of the hospital where she currently is. They are going to start breathing exercises soon and are weaning her off pain medication. They put her in a bed with an air mattress today.

    A very good point my husband stated yesterday is that her injury may be worse than Christopher Reeve's but her outcome seems to be very different.

  10. #10
    How long should Emily be in an inpatient rehab facility?

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