Below 300: Little Ashane’s long road to recovery
For the past six years, Jamaica has lost over 300 lives every year to road collisions caused by faulty vehicles, speeding, lack of seat belt use, lack of helmet use, distracted driving, and drinking and driving.
The NRSC wants to remind drivers that when you drive, you are assuming responsibility not just for your own safety but also the safety of your passengers, other drivers and pedestrians.
This is Ashane Leslie’s story:
Shane Leslie remembers driving in accordance with the road laws the day of his accident – he was not distracted, or drunk, or speeding, but he unexpectedly lost control of his car. Due to a malfunctioning control arm which rendered the steering wheel unresponsive and created unpredictable movements, his car began veering off the road, and there was nothing he could do. The car stopped once it slammed into a cement post on the side where Ashane, one of his twin boys, was sitting.
Except for Leslie’s friend, who suffered a wound above his eye, there appeared to be no other injuries. It seemed that everyone was in the clear.
“I couldn’t tell anything was wrong. Ashane got out the car and was saying, ‘See mi here, Daddy!’” Leslie recounts.
Ashane asked to lie down, which Leslie attributed to the small raised bump on his forehead.
It was not until emergency services evaluated Ashane’s condition that Leslie realised the worst was not yet over.
At the Spanish Town Hospital, medics discovered Ashane had sustained a traumatic brain injury. They waited for availability at the Bustamante Hospital for Children but Ashane’s condition quickly deteriorated.
An ambulance rushed Ashane to the Kingston Public Hospital where a CT scan showed blood clots at the site of the injury. The Bustamante Hospita for Children then admitted Ashane for immediate operation.
In addition to battling that day’s emotions, Shane Leslie remembers being told, “85 per cent don’t make it” from the surgery.
Ashane remained at the hospital for four months, beating the odds and beginning his recovery.
“Him in the ICU unconscious in a coma maybe a month. The way him is now from the way him was before…” Shane Leslie pauses, recalling Ashane’s condition after surgery.
Lorraine Vossell, Ashane’s mother, continues his thought, adding that Ashane “had a trach [breathing tube] through his throat, and then they had to feed him through his nose for two months”.
He returned home three days after the tube was removed but was taken to the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre two weeks later to receive physiotherapy and speech therapy.
Every other day, Ashane’s parents ready their other children for school, travel 40 minutes by bus to the rehabilitation centre, assist in Ashane’s recovery and return home in the afternoon.
Given their new routine, both parents are unable to work. Instead, they have devoted their time aiding in and witnessing their son’s journey every step of the way.
Vossell remains positive about Ashane’s improvement, noting that, “things are getting better. He’s remembering more. Little by little it’s coming back”.
CHECK YOUR CAR WITH A PROFESSIONAL
Ashane lifts up his shirt to reveal a large horizontal scar across his abdomen. He points to it, urging onlookers to investigate this amazing medical feat. Beneath the scar, the left portion of his skull sits for safekeeping until the surgery to replace the fragment is plausible. Ashane will keep making big steps in recovering and becoming stronger for the surgery on May 1, 2019.
“If mi did speed, him probably wouldn’t be here right now and more people would have get injured,” Leslie noted, addressing the even more deadly combination of speeding and car defects.
Leslie urges drivers to check their cars with a professional.
“Especially if yu kids inna the vehicle, check yu vehicle always. Me get to see that ‘cause of my child. Mi neva see something wrong and mi have mi [motor vehicle] fitness. Cut down on yu speed and check yu vehicle. If your vehicle need fix, just do it,” Leslie adds.
While Leslie’s crash was not caused by the popular culprits, such as speeding or lack of seatbelt use, his message remains important as many so often forget or keep rescheduling that car check they promised to do. In fact, sometimes it does not even cross a person’s mind if there are no visible issues.