“The blunt trauma to Austin’s skull caused his brain to hemorrhage”
Austin was helping his dad clean pine needles off of the roof of their house when the six year old suddenly slipped, falling ten feet to the ground. He hit his head and suffered a traumatic brain injury that consisted of an epidural hematoma and a depressed skull fracture. The blunt trauma caused Austin’s brain to hemorrhage. An epidural hematoma occurs when blood accumulates between the skull and the dura mater, the thick membrane covering the brain. The blood can pool, quickly causing an increase in intracranial pressure. Untreated, it can lead to brain damage and death.
The high energy impact to Austin’s head from the violent fall also caused a portion of his skull to extend into his brain cavity. This is called a depressed skull fracture. Due to the break in his cranial bone, part of Austin’s skull was actually sunken in from the trauma, putting him at a much higher risk for infection, seizures, and death. In Austin’s case, the fracture was depressed more than one centimeter, requiring surgical intervention. Due to the severity of his injury, Austin needed an operative treatment called a decompressive craniotomy and drainage to help correct the deformity. He spent two weeks in the hospital recovering before he was discharged.
Unfortunately, three months later Austin returned to the hospital with a wound infection of the skull from his injury. This time, he underwent a debridement surgery to remove the dead tissue and contaminated substances from his wound. A wound must be clean and have a good blood supply in order to heal. Anything that is stopping this must be taken out of the wound. Austin’s surgeon performed a washout of his scalp and bone flap wound to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of his body.
Another lengthy hospital stay followed his second surgery, but Austin was determined to not let the traumatic experiences or his medical limitations affect his mood. Austin’s optimism made him a profound role model for his two brothers, teaching them about bravery and perseverance through adversity.
“Even though we were feeling stress and fear during our time at Covenant Children’s Hospital, Kids Wish Network brought comfort and fun to Austin’s stay,” said Austin’s mom Justine.
It is with great pride that we honor Austin’s strength and willpower by recognizing him as Kids Wish Network’s along with Covenant Children’s Hospital’s Hero of the Month. Way to go, Austin!