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Horse accident nearly claims 6-year-old's arm

10:15 PM, May 25, 2012   |    comments
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Their daughter, Ally, was on a Flight for Life Helicopter on its way to Denver. There was no room for her parents to sit with her during what would turn out to be the scariest few hours of her life.

Just a few hours earlier Ally, 6, was taking riding lessons at Doolittle Ranch in Salida. As she rode her pony, Porkchop, she edged into a turn and lost control.

"I went kind of strange and I fell off," Ally said. "Then I rolled under it on accident, and [the pony] stepped on my arm."

Her trainer, Melissa Scott, heard Ally's screaming seconds after the accident. The image Scott saw after she turned around is something she says she will never forget.

"Everybody asked me what it looked like," Scott said. "Besides the blood, the immense amount of blood, it looked like broken tree branches."

Ally's arm shattered under the weight of her pony. A bone was protruding out of her right arm and the bleeding was heavy.

"We knew it was a big deal," Scott said.

Scott applied a tourniquet while others called 9-1-1. Paramedics from Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center rushed Ally to the hospital, where doctors realized Ally had a complex fracture and a torn artery. Ally risked losing her arm if doctors didn't act quickly.

"They called one hospital (and) they couldn't take her," Jeff Post said. "Then another, and another. Bottom line is, when you go down the line of hospitals, that's when I knew it was serious."

Ally's injury required a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. Heart of the Rockies eventually connected with Denver Health, where doctors agreed to take Ally's case.

Dr. Dennis Bensard, Director of Pediatric Trauma and Surgery, examined Ally's injury.

"Given the location, it really put the arm at risk," Bensard said. "We were dealing with about a six hour limit with respect to irreversible muscle and nerve injury."

Denver Health Chief of Hand Microvascular Surgery Dr. Kyros Ipaktchi agreed to Ally's surgery, which would require him to take hair size needles and make a microscopic fix to the torn blood vessel. He would have to cut away part of the artery ends on both sides, grafting the vein to re-establish blood flow, and all under a tight deadline.

"This is one of the reasons I work here," Ipaktchi said. "I want to be part of this team. This is what we do."

Surgeons ultimately repaired Ally's right arm, grafting the vein, stitching and pinning her arm and wrapping it under a cast. They were able to save her arm with no nerve damage or loss of function.

"I always thought, if that happened, if she would have lost her arm, we'll deal with it. We'll figure it out. She's a tough kid, she'll adapt," Katy Post, Ally's mom said. "Quite frankly, when she was in the cast, it didn't take her long to adapt."

A few weeks after surgery, Ally was already asking her parents and doctors about when she could get back to her normal life.

"I think I'm struck most by how brave she is, Bensard said. "Knowing she'll be able to return to things she likes to do is gratifying. When she left the hospital the only question she had was, 'When can [I] start riding a horse again?'"

It would come down to courage. Ally would be able to ride as soon as she got her cast off in March. She was back at Doolittle Ranch within a few weeks.

"We're extremely grateful (and) extremely blessed," Jeff Post said. "It puts a whole other opinion on when you wake up in the morning, are running behind, and arguing with each other over little things. Instead of getting frustrated, you actually learn to appreciate it."

After what the Posts experienced in February, they have learned to appreciate every second and every blessing.

"For everything that went wrong from the moment she fell off the horse, so much more went right," Katy Post said. "(It was) just an amazing process. We are very grateful... very grateful."

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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