By HEATHER TOMLINSON, CJ Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
A young girl is exceeding doctors’ expectations by showing signs of awareness, and even responding to loved ones, less than a week after she was severely injured in a car accident in Somerset.
“(The doctors at) UK say she’s a miracle, not only for her to have made it through day 5, but to be improving like she is,” said Karen Miller, aunt to 12-year-old Jaden Jasper.
Jaden, a Northern Middle School student, and her father James “Jimmy” Jasper, 56, were both injured on Tuesday, March 5, after the SUV they were in crashed through a fence on Pumphouse Road.
The planks from the fence tore through the car, striking both Jimmy and Jaden.
“It’s been a nightmare since 5:30 p.m. that Tuesday,” said Miller.
Jaden and Jimmy’s family members have spent nearly every waking hour with the two at the University of Kentucky Medical Center.
Jimmy, who was struck and impaled by a fence plank in the shoulder area, suffered a number of injuries in the accident, including a broken collarbone, broken clavicle, broken ribs, broken vertebrates, broken wrist, collapsed aorta, and a skull fracture.
Jimmy was officially discharged from the hospital on Sunday, and he was able to see his young daughter for the first time since the accident.
“He (Jimmy) has a long road ahead of him, and probably more surgeries,” said Miller. “It (seeing Jaden) was really hard for him.”
Jimmy is staying with family members while he recovers from his injuries.
Jaden suffered a depressed skull fracture in the accident when a fence plank struck her directly in the forehead. A depressed skull fracture is characterized by a bone break — usually caused by blunt force trauma — in which the bone pushes inward. In Jaden’s case, the bone is pushing inward and putting immense pressure on her brain.
The 12-year-old also suffered a broken eye socket and a broken cheekbone.
“Most of her injuries are to the left side of her face, except where the plank hit her forehead,” said Miller. “ ... She is strong. She is such a trooper.”
Jaden had already undergone a procedure during which doctors placed a lumbar drain to help remove spinal fluid that had accumulated on Jaden’s brain.
Miller said doctors are hoping to send Jaden into surgery this Friday. The procedure will involve a neurology team and a reconstruction team and may take between eight and 10 hours.
But in the meantime, the young girl has been responding intermittently to family members’ and doctors’ commands. Miller said she’s given a thumbs up sign, she’s raised an arm, and she’s even nodded in response to questions.
Family members are also reporting through the “Prayers for Jaden” Facebook page that Jaden is moving her legs occasionally, even crossing them beneath her.
Jaden’s eyes have yet to open, and she’s still breathing through a ventilator. Miller said doctors told family members that, if she’s able, Jaden may undergo surgery before Friday so they can avoid taking her off the ventilator and having to put her back on the ventilator again for the surgery — a process that would be painful and difficult for Jaden.
The community has rallied around Jaden and her family since the accident happened. Jaden’s fellow classmates at Northern Middle have worn pink in honor of their friend, and the “Prayers for Jaden” Facebook page has more than 5,000 followers. A website, www.prayers4jaden.com, has been created where people can purchase T-shirts to help raise money for the Jasper family, which is no doubt facing mounds and mounds of hospital and rehabilitation bills.
Jaden’s recovery will most likely take months.
“We’ve had such an outpouring of support,” said Miller. “ ... We want everyone to know we appreciate everything they’ve done and continue to do.
“I know she (Jaden) is going to be so thrilled to see this (support) when she wakes up,” Miller added.
Miller, who was forced to return to Somerset Monday to recover from illness brought on by the stress of Jaden’s situation, said the family will continue to keep vigil at Jaden’s bedside.
“She’s fighting, let me tell you,” said Miller.
Miller plans to return to UK as soon as possible to be there with her sister, Jaden’s mother, who is Jimmy’s wife, and their other family members.