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Linzi Taylor

January 13, 1986

I survived being backed completely over by a vehicle when I was nearly one and a half years old.

On January 13, 1986 in Maurice, LA (near Lafayette) around noon, my mom was babysitting a 2-year-old girl and watching me, 15 1/2 months, 23 pounds. My 4-year-old sister was being brought home from preschool by a family friend. When she pulled into the driveway, my mom went outside to get my sister out of the passenger side of the van. She waved goodbye and started walking to the front of the van with my sister. Then she noticed that the 2-year-old girl and our pet dog had come outside. Instantly, she realized that if they were outside, I could be too and started screaming my name.

At that point, our family friend had already stopped after backing up the van only a few feet, thinking that she had run over a tricycle or maybe a dog. All of this happened in less than 5 seconds after my sister got out of the van. My mom saw me lying lined up exactly foot to head between the tires on the passenger side, with my foot only about an inch from the front tire.

My mom is a certified K-12 teacher with all first aid and CPR training, but said all of that went out the window as she scooped me up, in denial that I could have been hurt, and was yelling “”She’s fine!”” Because, as my mom says, a mother knows the exact position of their baby, she realized that her hand was flat on my head and not in my normal “”shape.”” She rocked me off of her chest and looked at me. My head was skinny and flat on the sides which made her come out of denial and start screaming “”She’s bad, she’s bad!”” Our family friend knew what had happened because she thought she had run over our dog and had already called the ambulance as well as my dad who ended up beating the ambulance to the hospital.

They took turns trying to breathe for me as I was turning blue and my eyes were rolling back in my head. After arriving by ambulance, the hospital staff tried to tell my mom that the van must have missed me and she explained that there was no way in the short distance that our friend had maneuvered around me. A couple of minutes later, the tire marks started appearing on my back and they no longer argued with her. As it turned out, the van went up my leg and off of my head, missing only below my knee on one leg.

I was taken for a full body CAT scan and x-rays. The initial x-rays did not show any internal bleeding and the general surgeon seemed perplexed. They ran a second set of x-rays about 20 minutes after the first, which showed all kinds of bleeding and things going on inside. The surgeon explained that she needed to open me up to see what all was going on and stop the bleeding.

I had a full exploratory where all of my organs were examined and repaired, as needed, to stop the bleeding. They discovered I had suffered 3 tears in my spleen, a squished lower lobe of liver, compressed lungs, kidney bleeds, and knotted intestinal spasms. I was taken to my room after an 8 hour surgery that night. One thing learned after surgery was that I was having trouble breathing because my lungs were 100% contused (like crumpled cellophane paper slowly crackling back open). The surgeon said that being in surgery that long helped them open up due to the gentle re-inflation from being on the respirator for so many hours.

I was expected to be in the PICU recovering for 3-4 days, but something was wrong.

I was not bouncing back, so they ran more tests and the decision was made to go back in for a second full exploratory on the 9th day. The surgeon found 6″” of intestinal intussusception (very uncommon) which she was able to massage out instead of having to remove. She also was able to go over all of my organs again and “”check her work”” to ensure healing. That surgery lasted about 4 hours. I recovered well after this surgery and moved from the PICU to PEDS after less than 2 days.

On the 11th day, I had developed a fresh bleed coming through my NG tube which the nurses tried to control, but couldn’t. Once there was 500 c.c.s in the bottle, I became lethargic and pale and was basically bleeding to death. When I was picked up, clots of blood were projected across the room. They rushed me across the hall to PICU and told my mom “”Now is the time for a lot of prayers.”” After all that they had been through already, she couldn’t believe that now was the time I was going to die!? My mom watched as they removed the filters from the blood infusion and asked why they did that. They told her to ignore the alarms because I needed the blood faster than the filters would allow. I was given countless units of blood. They had just started screening donated blood for aids and the test was only 80% effective, so this scared my mom a lot. The bleeding was from a hole in my esophagus due to the numerous intubations and was repaired via surgery down my throat. My mom was bothered that they didn’t give me any anesthesia for this procedure, but they assured her that I was “self-anesthetized or comatose-like”… had they given me anything else, it would have killed me.

Only later was she told that it is possible that I was clinically dead for a short time, which made sense to her because I told my parents later about talking to the angels. This was the 3rd of my 3 surgeries. After this, I recovered quite well with only one set back caused by an over-tired nurse. As she was changing tape from my first incision (first 2 surgeries done through same incision), she not only cut the tape, but cut my skin and laid me wide open so low on my stomach that I had to be sterilized with each diaper change. I have a tiny scar from this additional “”accident.”” That was the last bump in the road for me and I finally was able to go home at 17 months old, weighing only 17 pounds.

I am incredibly fortunate to have survived such a terrifying ordeal and to have had such an amazing medical staff that repaired the damage that was done.

My parents were given a 4 paged typed document of the possible combinations of complications that I may face throughout my life. I have had few, although none severe. My mom and I both suffered from severe PTSD for years, and she still has the occasional flash back. Fortunately, I do not remember anything except for talking to my angel. I am beyond blessed.

I am now a healthy, married 29 year old Financial Analyst who recently gave birth naturally to our little boy. This was my one fear: not being able to have my own children, but again, God was good and granted the desires of our hearts.

The only physical reminder of my accident is the scar down my stomach and the tiny scissor scar near my groin. I am a rare statistic and have a great appreciation for the life I have been given.

When I learned about and the thousands of children that have been injured or killed since my near death experience, my heart broke for those families. Now as a mother, I understand even more how devastating this must have been for my parents. I’m not sure what they would have done if I had not survived.

I am sharing my story to help bring awareness to the issue of children being backed over because they cannot be seen by the driver. If our family friend had been able to see behind her van, I would not have been backed over. A back-up camera can be added to any vehicle and ALL vehicles have a blindzone behind them where children cannot be seen by the driver. Please don’t ever think that this can’t happen to you or your children. Equip your vehicle with a back-up camera and sensors!

Thank you for listening to my story.
Linzi Taylor

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