Lauren Barnard recovers after sledding accident

Lauren Barnard recovers after sledding accident

Alex Helm, Writer

Students all over LISD woke up Friday, Dec. 6 to yards blanketed in ice and snow. On a rare Texas snow day off from school, junior Lauren Barnard was looking for nothing more than a few hours of fun sledding with her family. But the winter wonderland activity quickly got out of hand. Lauren plummeted off a six foot cliff near the cul-de-sac of her street and landed on rocks, drastically harming herself.

Along with a broken nose and stitches on her forehead, Lauren had several internal injuries including a laceration on her liver, a hole in her intestine and a leaking pancreas. The doctors at Parkland Health & Hospital System decided to send Lauren to surgery.

After the four and a half hour procedure, Lauren was moved into the Intensive Care Unit. Lauren lost about half of her pancreas and her spleen is gone, but the hole is repaired. Her lungs collapsed during surgery, so she has a chest tube, along with a feeding tube. But despite all this, Lauren’s condition is improving.

“[Her lungs] are now beginning to function properly on their own with the exception of one that is not at full capacity yet,” junior Madison Boule said via a Caring Bridge web page made for Lauren. “Nurses and doctors suggest Lauren begin breathing treatments and exercises to increase her lung capacity.”

Lauren has physical therapists that are training her to relearn simple actions like swallowing and taking deep breaths. Along with breathing, the therapists help her with speech. The chest tubes make it difficult for her, but Lauren is gradually making progress.

“She’s had good days and bad days,” Lauren’s mother Betty Jo Barnard said. “Sometimes she’ll console me and say ‘mom, don’t cry, I’m fine.’”

Along with her family, Lauren has had almost five thousand visits to the Caring Bridge page, and hundreds of friends have shown their support by sending messages on Facebook.

“It’s been so overwhelming,” Barnard said. “The outpour of love and support has been great. So many people have chipped in and helped.”

After two weeks in the hospital, Lauren returned home a few days before for Christmas. She was able to spend the holidays with her family, but had to return to the hospital due to a few complications about a week later. For now, she’s spending most of her time home and spends some nights at the hospital. The doctors expect Lauren to return to school within four to six weeks.