A nursing director from California will soon return to the United States after being hospitalized following an unusual accident during her vacation. Deanne Niedziela was on vacation in Costa Rica with her husband on Sunday when she was "hit by a falling tree branch" during a waterfall excursion, according to a GoFundMe campaign.
The couple was touring La Paz Waterfall Gardens Natural Park at the time, according to ABC affiliate KABC-TV. Ken Niedziela, Deanne's husband, told KABC-TV that he heard a "huge crash" that sounded like "thunder," which turned out to be a five-foot-long tree limb that fell and ultimately hit his wife.
According to the GoFundMe page, Deanne "suffered a near-fatal spinal cord injury". After being hospitalized, she underwent a nine-hour surgery on Monday, according to KABC-TV.
As of Wednesday, Deanne still has "no sensation from the chest down," Ken wrote in an update on the GoFundMe page. However, she is now "without supplemental oxygen" and "alert and speaking."
Ken also told KABC-TV that his wife "has limited movement in her arms" but "has no finger strength to speak."
Ken hopes that he and his wife can return to the United States on Friday through a medical flight, he shared on the fundraising page. The goal is for Deanne to be "admitted to Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo," where she works as a nursing director, he added.
Rebecca Wile, who organized the GoFundMe campaign, said the cost of bringing Deanne back via medical transport is high: $100,000. As of Thursday, more than $131,000 has been raised.
"It's so tragic that this once-in-a-lifetime trip has suddenly turned into a life-threatening medical emergency," said Jennifer Cord, director of nursing at Providence Mission Hospital, according to KABC-TV.
"She's very strong, and I think that will help her in the long run," Ken told the news agency.
Originally posted at Liga Legal® Abogados