Emma’s Story

Emma was riding with her grandpa through sand dunes near Pismo Beach when their vehicle was run over by a Hummer. Emma’s father, Matt, witnessed the collision and was the first responder on the scene. “I thought I had watched my daughter die,” said Matt, recalling the horrific accident that brought the joy of a spring vacation to an abrupt end.

A Sacramento firefighter, Matt was able to extricate his daughter from the wreckage and transport her to the beach several miles away. From there, emergency responders transported Emma to the nearest hospital, where doctors quickly arranged for Emma to go to a level one trauma center. Matt and his daughter flew by emergency transport to Fresno Community Hospital. Emma’s massive injuries included a traumatic brain injury, broken clavicle, chest laceration, spinal injury, and complex open fractures to both the tibia and fibia in her right leg.

Emma laughing with her doctor

As doctors counseled Emma’s parents, Matt and Nicole, regarding the need to find a surgeon experienced in pediatrics, concerned family and friends called to offer help. One caller linked Matt with Dr. Brian Haus, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California and the University of California, Davis Children’s Hospital.

“Dr. Haus informed us he was working to get a room available at UC Davis,” said Matt. On Easter Sunday Dr. Haus operated on Emma, finishing surgery at 3 a.m. on Monday.

Six months later, Emma was walking with the assistance of a boot, enjoying her new kitten, and back at school with friends. She continued to see Dr. Haus during appointments at Shriners Hospital, where x-ray techs, cast techs, and orthotics specialists also were involved in her care. Her family is grateful for the care provided by Shriners Hospital and to Dr. Haus for, as they put it, “Saving Emma’s future.”

“We know that Emma wasn’t his only patient, but he made us feel like she was,” says Matt. “Initially, his surgery saved Emma’s leg. Ever since, he has been helping our family heal.”

A video about Emma can be found here.

Shriners Success Story

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