Laurel Rockwell's Road to Recovery

On May 20, 2017 our parents John and Laurel Rockwell were in a tragic head on collision while on their way home from the airport in Costa Rica. Our father, John, passed away minutes after the collision and our Mom, Laurel, was left in critical condition fighting for her life. After being administered a breathing tube on the road, Mom was taken to San Juan de Dios public hospital to treat her extensive broken bones, collapsed lungs, and internal bleeding. All of the ribs on the left side of her body were broken in several places, her hip was fractured in 8 places and dislocated from the joint. She has two broken pubic bones and breaks to the tibia bones in both her legs. Her right arm suffered a compound fracture and additional fractures in her wrist. Thankfully she did not suffer any brain or spinal cord damage, though has dislocated disks in her cervical spine and a fractured thoracic vertebrae. She has been on a ventilator since arriving at the hospital, was able to fight off a serious septic infection the first week, and is slowly regaining the ability to breath on her own, though she was given a tracheotomy to avoid complications with an oral breathing tube. On June 1st she received her first surgery to begin stabilizing her body, by having external fixators attached to temporarily hold her muscles and bones in place until she is stable enough to received the extensive surgeries required to repair her body.

Since waking up from her medical induced coma, Mom has been very responsive when visited by friends and family. Though she is not able to speak due to the tracheotomy, she is able give small nods and shakes of her head and by mouthing words. It has been frustrating for her to not be able to speak. She has an amazing attitude and seems to have a lot to say, if only she were able to express it.

It has been very frustrating to get Laurel the care she needs here. She is in an overcrowded public hospital in a dilapidated building with no air conditioning and extreme sanitation concerns. She is currently in an ICU ward with an open window directly above her head and fans blowing hot air throughout the room. Communication with doctors treating Mom has been extremely difficult, as daily we are given different prognoses and information regarding her status. There is also the language barrier, which makes it difficult to know what's happening as we are unable to communicate with nurses giving her care, and nurses and care givers are not able to communicate with Laurel. At this point we are extremely concerned with Laurel's well being and future improvement as it has been very slow to get any of her necessary surgeries going.

It is our goal to move Laurel to a critical care facility in Texas where we know she will be getting more attentive and necessary care, as well as being surrounded by family and friends. She will need multiple surgeries and extensive long term therapy to recover, but we are confident she can make a full recovery with proper care. We hope to safely transfer our dear Mom to where she can receive the best quality care to give her incredible fighting strength of body and spirit the best possible chance for recovery. If we are able to move her we will be responsible for paying for her medical care for the first few weeks as she will not be covered by any type of insurance in the U.S. until July 1st.

Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers for our Mom during this difficult time.


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Organizer and beneficiary

Kelly Spady 
McKinney, TX
Wendy Cox 
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