Impaled driver fully recovers from freak injury

| 06/08/2019
CNS Local Life
Nicholas Connor after lifesaving surgery

(CNS Local Life): Nicholas Connor (30) sustained a dramatic freak injury during a car crash earlier this year after he was impaled on a steel pole but amazingly walked out of the hospital just a week later. Connor had smashed into a chain link fence and one of the poles holding up the fence went through his body. Taken to Cayman Islands Hospital for assessment, he was quickly transported to Health City Cayman Islands, where surgeons saved his life despite the incredible trauma and blood loss he had sustained.

Connor arrived at the East End hospital with the pole still in his chest and protruding through his back. He had been freed from the car by the Cayman Islands Fire Service but he was still impaled. Dr Binoy Chattuparambil, Health City’s Clinical Director and Chief Cardiac Surgeon, got the early morning call. “I was at home sleeping. At 2:30am I got a call from the government hospital that there was an urgent case. Somebody got into an accident and an iron pipe had gone through the chest — through and through,” he said.

Connor’s condition when he arrived was really traumatic. “He was lying on one side with a very big iron pipe through the chest and coming out of his back and he could not lie down. He was awake and it was very scary for him and his parents, who were there with his brother,” the doctor stated.

Connor’s injury was so serious and unusual that despite many years of collective experience, this was the first time the surgical team at Health City had seen such a complicated case.

“I realised we didn’t have much time to waste. Immediately, we had to do a CT scan — at least to know what structures were pierced (where) the pipe had gone through. The problem was, this pipe was projecting [out of his body] on both sides. He will not go through the CT scan,” Dr Chattuparambil said.

So the surgeons asked for help from the fire service to trim the pole so he could fit inside the machine. The doctors sedated Connor, who was then wheeled outside so the crew could use their specialised equipment to cut more of the pole away from his body. He was then whisked back inside for the scan.

That showed that the pole had not damaged any of the major blood vessels but it had badly damaged his lung and several ribs were broken in multiple places. His right elbow was also completely shattered.

Cardiac anaesthesiologist Dr Dhruva Krishnan said the surgeons were racing against time.

“He was stable but his oxygen levels could have dropped any time and this injury could have gotten worse. And there were tubes and lines we had to place when he was in that very precarious position. A special tube called w-mint was used to ventilate the left lung so the injured right lung could be deflated to enable surgical repair,” he explained.

A long and complicated procedure, involving a lot of the medical staff, repaired the lung and the ribs, enabling Connor to eventually breathe without mechanical assistance.

“We needed at least ten people to mobilise him from the triage to the CT scan room and to the CT scan gantry very delicately,” Dr Krishnan said, explaining that the images were vital for the surgeons to be able to operate successfully.

However, he spent just two days in the Intensive Care Unit and was discharged from the hospital just a week later, when he was able to walk out on his own. “The surgeons did a very good job repairing seven ribs that were broken and my lung that was punctured,” Connor said. “They told me that I am a lucky man and I give thanks to God. It could have been worse,” he added.

See more on the work that Health City did to put Connor back together below:


Category: Local News, Medical and Health

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Well done Health City!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Lucky guy! It should be illegal to erect one of those chain link fences on the road side. They are at the perfect height to impale motorists and motorcyclists!