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Ethan Kellett is broken.

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In the early hours of Friday January 12th, my 14 year old nephew Ethan Kellett was involved in a traumatic automobile accident. The driver lost control of the vehicle due to speed, and icy conditions. The vehicle slammed into a parked plow truck, impacting the passenger side, where Ethan was sitting. He was pulled from the wreckage by the driver, unconcious and seizing.  When he came to, laying on the side of the street, he was screaming and crying that his legs were broken. He was taken by ambulance to Genesis East in Davenport, Iowa.  With him being at the hospital, you would expect things to begin getting better. Unfortunatley, this is where things  got much worse for him. 

After arriving at Genesis around 2:00 a.m the staff  and E.R. doctor began treating him for a fractured thumb, and a PCL with detached bone in his right knee. It was then determined that Ethan would be discharged back to his home around 11:00 A.M. He was told he could walk on crutches, and provided information on how to treat a sore leg, and fractured thumb. He was given one loratab, and a prescription for ten Vicodins to see him through.  At this point his mother Samantha Smith began fighting to keep him there, as they both knew their was more to this than had been diagnosed. They were both told their was nothing else the hospital would be doing for them, and they had to leave. Samantha, being the strong woman that she has always been, pleaded and begged them to look deeper into Ethans injuries, upon which her request was denied. Ethan was then told he could walk out of there, and provided crutches. Ethan insisted that his legs were broken to no avail. Samantha begged for a wheelchair so she could begin the process of loading him into her personal vehicle by herself.  Ethan is 6'2" and 190 pounds. They were reluctant to provide a chair, but eventually did. Samantha then began the process of loading Ethan into her sedan by herself. Through tears of agony, and pain induced vomiting, Samantha did as the doctors instructed. The drive from Genesis East to their home is roughly a two mile drive. This car ride was a nightmare for them both. Samantha helplessly drove Ethan as he sat in an upright position crying and vomiting in agony the whole way home. Upon arriving at their home, another family member assisted in carrying him up eight stairs into the first floor bedroom.  This is where he remained for the next forty hours as his condition worsened. 

Sunday the 14th around 8:00 a.m. Samantha deemed it necessary to  call for an ambulance. Upon arrival, the paramedics felt they would need backup to safely move him. They recoginized that he was in terrible shape and needed further medical care. They then waited for a second ambulance to arrive.

They arrived back at Genesis East around 10:00 a.m. on Sunday the 14th. They seemed reluctant to give him further testing, because its normal to have aches and pains from a car accident. Samantha relayed to them that she knew something else was wrong, as did Ethan. Samantha began inquiring as to whether not he would be admitted. This is when she was told patients are not admitted for imobility and pain, no insurance providers will pay for that. Samantha then informed them, she would not be leaving until they determined what was wrong with him. Samantha and Ethan were then informed, by the ER doctor that they could remain in the waiting room as long as they liked, unless they found something else to be broken. Ethan was begging and pleading for them to check his other leg for injury. They grudgingly agreed to run another x ray on his left leg. Upon doing so it was determined that his left tibia was broken. Upon discovery of this additional injury, two new doctors began evaluating Ethan. They expressed much concern, and deemed it necessary to scan his neck and spine for overlooked injuries. After speaking with a hospital consultant, and physical therapist, he was deemed admittable. 

At this point  all they could is wait for an ORA  evaluation.  Around 3:00 p.m. on Monday the 15th the ORA doctor came and explained he was at extreme risk for bloodclotting, and his injuries were considered life threatening, and in desperate need of blood thinners. Blood thinners could not be administered due to the lack of a head, brain, and neck scan. They had to ensure his brain wasn't hemorrhaging. The doctor inormed Samantha that he would be ordering those tests immediatley. Around this point, the doctor informed Samantha that he was reccomending transfer to Iowa City. Before this could happen, they had to await the results of Ethans head scans. This was necessary to determine if they could provide Ethan the blood thinners he desperatley needed. Roughly three hours later, a family medicine doctor informed Samanatha that Ethans knee surgery could be done as an outpatient, and they were looking to manage his pain for discharge within the next day or two. At which time Samantha became irate, informing her another doctor had just reccomended transfer to Iowa City due to Ethans life threatening injuries. The ORA doctor had recomended additional testing for a possible broken ankle and something causing him extreme pain in his buttox.  Fifteen minutes later, a portable x ray machine arrived in Ethans room. At this point Ethans right ankle, and pelvic bone were x rayed.

Early Tuesday morning, the ORA doctor returned informing Samantha that Ethan had a fractured growth plate on the left side of his pelvis. Ethans left femur had punched up into his pelvic growth plate. It was determined he was in dire need of being transferred to Iowa City. They began coordinating his transfer at this point. Ethan was loaded for transport to Iowa City around 9:30 p.m. that evening. 

I arrived in Iowa City minutes ahead of the ambulance around 11 p.m. Tuesday night. Samantha wasn't far behind. Upon evaluation of Ethan by the ER Dr.s in Iowa City, it was hard for them to hide their shock and disbelief at the gross negligience, and failure to follow basic protocol in regard to diagnosing possible injuries common to the victim of a traumatic car accident.

We are doing our best to keep his spirits up. He is a huge fan of Rick and Morty, and anything we can do to fight back the inescapable dread he is feeling regarding his state of pain, and imobility, we will do without question.

Ethan's care has increased exponentially since leaving the hellhole they call Genesis East behind us. The staff here has been amazing. The army of healthcare specialists that have been through to examine Ethan, have proven themselves to be competent, kind, and genuinely caring about Ethan's condition. Ethan is receiving the care he deserves.

The prognosis has been improving steadily. The pelvic surgery that would have proven to be the riskiest surgery Ethan would have needed, has been found to be unnecessary. The bone is broken, but is set correctly, so it should be able to mend on its own. It took the input of specialists far and wide to determine this, and the news has brought much relief to all of us. Ethan has a long road ahead of him for his full recovery. He is scheduled to have surgery regarding the issues with his knee this Thursday the 25th.

They began his physical therapy Thursday the 18th. It is necessary for Ethan to move his legs to fight the formation of blood clots, which is still a potentially life threatening issue. The act of Ethan attempting to be helped into a wheelchair from his bed was the single most heart wrenching thing I have ever been witness to. It's not even a possibility at this time, and the physical therapy specialists recognized this. They have deemed Ethans condition severe enough to cause him to be unable to return home upon discharge. He will be going to an inpatient rehabilitation center, possibly in Peoria. The closest option is Genesis East unfortunately, and that will never happen. It is my understanding at this time that Ethan will remain here in Iowa City until after his surgery this coming Thursday the 25th.

Ethan has a long road to recovery ahead of him. Samantha is a single mother, who will be taking on the brunt of the responsibilities that will be incurred during this arduous journey. She will be missing tons of work, and the bills aren't gonna stop, if anything, they are just getting started. Samantha will not be allowed to stay with Ethan at the rehabilitation center that he will likely be a resident of in Peoria. Samantha will be making trips back and forth to be with him through all of this. Once rehabilitation is over, he will likely be at home needing full time assistance. It is undetermined when Samantha will be returning to work. Her employers have expressed their concern, and she may return to work when able. We have no idea what the financial impact of all this will amount to when everything is said and done.

Iowa City is amazing and heartbreaking, infinitely sad and breathtakingly beautiful, all at once. Their are some very sick children here, and my heart goes out to all of them. But knowing they are here with professionals who care, brings me joy, and just enough peace of mind, to not collapse in a pile of despair and desolation.

Thank you to everyone for the amount of support you have given Ethan and Samantha during these dark days that they have been living through.


  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 6 yrs


Colin Goodman
Moline, IL

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