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After crash caused internal decapitation, California woman’s recovery is ‘a miracle’


Alexis Evans, center, walks for the first time with the...

The 23-year-old strides across the studio floor, each step a deliberate, thoughtful, remarkable placement of footing on the laminate tile.

The further Alexis Evans can walk, and the less help she needs doing it, the more miraculous the feat.

Seven months after a car crash that could have ended her life, the Yorba Linda resident is living, talking, and walking. She’s smiling, fist-bumping, and practicing using chopsticks.

The injury she suffered is as serious as it sounds: atlanto-occipital dislocation, also known as internal decapitation. In a rear-end crash along the 91 Freeway in December, Alexis’ cervical spinal cord was injured, causing paralysis that doctors initially believed would inhibit her from talking or moving much beyond her eyes.

That she survived at all was a rarity, said Dr. David Patterson, the rehabilitation and medical director at Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare in Pomona, where Alexis goes five days a week for outpatient therapy. People who experience the same injury usually do not make it to the hospital, he said. Those who do survive are typically quadriplegic.

There were moments shortly after the crash when “I think they weren’t sure whether she would even survive it,” said Dr. Suranee Waleszonia, one of Alexis’ neuropsychologists, during a recent physical therapy session. “But she’s done remarkably well.”

Alexis Evans, center, walks for the first time with the assistance of only one person, physical therapist Michelle Herren, left, as clinical director Rachael Tran, right, looks on at the Transitional Living Center at the Casa Hospital in Pomona on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. In December, Alexis, 23, suffered a near fatal injury, an Atlanto-occipital dislocation, or internal decapitation, when her vehicle was rear ended on the 91 freeway. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Occupational therapist Suzanne Goya, left, helps Alexis Evans learn to eat with a spoon during Evans’ physical therapy at the Transitional Living Center at the Casa Hospital in Pomona on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Kathy Evans, left, shares a laugh with her Alexis at the Transitional Living Center at the Casa Hospital in Pomona on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. In December, Alexis, 23, suffered a near fatal injury, an Atlanto-occipital dislocation, or internal decapitation, when her vehicle was rear ended on the 91 freeway. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Occupational therapist Suzanne Goya, left, claps after Alexis Evans uses chopsticks to pick up bundle of rope used as a sushi substitute during Evans’ physical therapy at the Transitional Living Center at the Casa Hospital in Pomona on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. When asked the kind of sushi she was picking up, she replied, “salmon.” (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Neuropsychologist Suranee Waleszonia, left, whispers something into Alexis Evans’ ear, bringing a smile to her face during her physical therapy at the Transitional Living Center at the Casa Hospital in Pomona on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

A determined Alexis Evans, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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