On January 11, 2017, 26-year-old Kourtney Hurst headed to her job in an Edgewood, Kentucky hospital catheter lab. She found her work to be highly rewarding, helping her patients spend another day with their loved ones. However, on her drive that morning, she learned what it is like to be on the other side, hoping for one more minute, one more day.
Without warning, Kourtney hit black ice and awoke days later in a hospital neuro ICU. Listed in critical condition, Kourtney quickly realized each breath was a miracle.
Her truck had slid into a telephone pole, trapping her inside with a blown transformer swinging over her head. The first officer to arrive on the scene found her unconscious, covered in blood and fighting for her life. The emergency team busted windows and pried doors open to save her. She was rushed to the hospital on that cold Wednesday morning which quickly turned into the scariest day of her life.
Kourtney’s husband of only two months met her at the emergency room, where the team ran multiple tests and learned that her injuries were more extensive than thought. She had a bleed on her brain and was brain dead. Her skull was fractured in multiple places. Most of the bones in her face were broken, her neck was broken, her right clavicle was in two pieces, and her left leg was fractured. There was a fistula behind her left eye. And Kourtney had bilateral pneumothorax, a spleen laceration and abdominal bleeding.
To stabilize her condition, Kourtney received multiple surgeries. At one point, her brain bleed doubled in size. Rods, screws and plates were put in her left leg and clavicle, and she wore a neck brace. Her condition was taken day by day.
Miraculously, Kourtney made it out of the hospital in 15 days and chose to transfer to HealthSouth Northern Kentucky Rehabilitation Hospital. She selected HealthSouth Northern Kentucky, as they made her feel comfortable and informed. She also knew that the doctors who would be taking care of her would give her the best care.
On the day following her arrival, Kourtney met with her team and learned what rehabilitation was going to be like and what her goals and expectations would be.
“They tested my strength and abilities,” Kourtney said. “And once we established a game plan, it was go time!”
Kourtney started learning to walk again with a walker and a therapist’s assistance. Physical and occupational therapy teams encouraged, motivated and educated her with every step, getting to know her needs personally. They reassured her that she would get back to herself and that they would help her do everything she could handle.
“I would feel defeated a lot and would not want to do more,” Kourtney said, “but, they were always very uplifting and reminded me often that I am making huge strides and don’t realize it.”
Because of her team’s help, Kourtney discharged to home, walking unassisted, after only one week. She continues rehabilitation in outpatient therapy with an optimistic outlook. She gives thanks to God for giving her the strength to overcome her injuries. And she is thankful for each member of her rehabilitation team for always believing in her.
“I looked forward to my time with them each day,” she said, “and miss them more than words can describe. If someone I loved needed rehabilitation, I would absolutely tell them to go to HealthSouth.”