"I just got run over," says a four-year-old girl who was severely injured last month in a tragic lawnmower accident at the home of a family friend. Injuries to children are always heart-wrenching, and this one is especially unfortunate because neither the girl's family nor the family involved in the lawnmower accident has insurance. They are relying on community donations to offset her medical expenses, which include the cost of 14 surgeries.
The girl was injured on April 18 when she and her three-year-old brother were playing at a neighbor's house. According to her father, another young girl was driving the neighbor's riding lawnmower, and the three-year-old boy was a passenger. The boy almost fell from the mower, and while the two children were struggling to re-seat him, the lawnmower swerved and ran over his sister.
The accident resulted in the partial amputation of the four-year-old's right calf muscle, along with the loss of several fingers and toes. She was taken by LifeFlight helicopter from Chapmansboro, about 35 miles northwest of Nashville, to Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, where she underwent seven hours of surgery.
Doctors were unable to reattach all of the fingers and toes the little girl lost, and it is unclear whether she will ever walk again. She remains in the hospital and has undergone 13 additional surgeries. It is unclear how long she will remain hospitalized, but she is lucky to be alive.
Her parents and the community enjoyed some relief from dealing with the little girl's catastrophic injuries when she was well enough to be interviewed by reporters on Tuesday. She appeared smiling and in relatively good spirits in the videotaped interview, which was allowed in order to help the family get out the message that children should never be allowed near lawnmowers.
Prevent catastrophic injuries to children: Keep them away from lawnmowers and other household power equipment
"Kids should not be outside while you are [mowing the grass], kids should not be unsupervised while you are doing it, because this is not the worst case scenario, [The four-year-old girl] is still alive," the girl's father told reporters.
It's an important message as spring turns into summer. Please remember safety as you mow your lawn, play in pools, and take part in other activities where children can be hurt.
The girl's parents have not been able to work since the accident and have put their house on the market to cover her medical expenses. For information about how to donate money to the family, visit the Facebook page set up after the accident.