Oftentimes, car accidents hurt collateral victims. Data shows that in 2013, auto accidents killed more than 3,000 people, and hurt another 424,000. Sometimes, those injuries are minor, insignificant. Other times, they can be rather grave, but luckily, modern medical science can do amazing things.
A 16-month-old boy was riding in a car with his mother and nine-year-old sister last month in northern New South Wales, Australia. Meanwhile, a teenage driver with two friends was busy doing doughnuts outside of a bend in the highway. The two crashed head-on, with Rylea Taylor and her children going about 70 mph.
The force of the catastrophic collision ripped Jaxon Taylor’s upper vertebrae, essentially decapitating him internally.
Amazingly, doctors were able to reattach his head. Surgeons used a fragment of one of his ribs to graft the severed vertebrae together in a six-hour operation.
“A lot of children wouldn’t survive that injury in the first place,” said spinal surgeon Geoff Askin, the man who did the seemingly impossible. “And if they did and they were resuscitated they may never move or breathe again.”
Rylea was unharmed in the accident thanks to the car’s airbags. Her daughter sustained non-life-threatening abdominal injuries. She did suffer broken vertebrae, as well as internal bleeding, which took three hours of surgery to stop. She was then put in a body brace for eight weeks.
Jaxon will have to wear a neck brace for a couple months so that the tissues and nerves connecting his head to his spine will heal, but he seems to be making an amazing recovery.
“It is a miracle,” Rylea said. When she spoke to police, she was disgusted to learn that since Australia’s reckless driving laws vary depending on the location of an accident, the teenagers’ punishments will likely only result in fines and license suspensions. She has since started a petition on Change.org for stricter penalties on reckless drivers.