Cassidy Russell is a normal everyday 10 year old girl. She is adored by everyone that knows her and is loved by everyone in the neighborhood. She is normally seen outside playing with the other kids and keeping an eye on the younger ones to make sure that they are included. On Wednesday, June 13th, Cassidy was going about her normal day of playing with her siblings and friends when a neighbors dog got loose in the neighborhood. On any normal day she can walk up to this dog and pet him on the head and calm him down until his owner can attach a leash and lead him back home. Today would turn out to be anything but normal. As Cassidy went to pet the dog he turned and attacked her. He latched on to her right arm and started shaking his head back and forth tearing tendons, nerves and arteries along with snapping both bones in her forearm. She screamed for the dog to stop and he let her go. At this point she composed herself and started telling people what they needed to do. She told one of the adults who was trying to help with catching the dog to stop staring at her and call 911 three times until he finally did it. Her 8 year old sister watched the entire thing and was screaming and crying, but Cassidy calmed her down and told her to go get the sitter to call her parents.
She was taken by ambulance to Culpeper Regional Hospital where she was told that she would have to be taken to a specialist. One helicopter ride later she arrived at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax, VA. She underwent surgery that evening to thoroughly clean the wound and prep her for the next step. Thursday was spent in recovery with a high dose of antibiotics to prevent infection. Friday morning was surgery number 2 in which the bones were set with a rod on the outer bone and a metal plate with screws on the inner bone. However, the surgeon was unable to close the wound completely due to the amount of damage that still remained. The weekend was spent waiting for word as to what would come next. On late Sunday evening the plastic surgeon stopped by to examine the wound a little and let us know what the schedule would be. His week was already full of appointments, but when he heard about her from the other doctors and nurses he wanted to get involved with her case and try to help the best he could. Cassidy was put on a standby list in case an OR slot opened up for the plastic surgeon. She was told that this could take days before an opening would appear. On Monday around noon the nurses and staff all rushed to Cassidy's room and said that they were taking her for surgery right now. By 1245 she was in the OR and the plastic surgeon had begun his work. Nearly 3 hours later the surgeon came out to let us know the extent of the work that he had performed, and his expectations for the future. He repaired multiple tendons to regain movement of her thumb, reattached nerve strands together to regain feeling in the back of her thumb and first 2 fingers, and attached a material made from shark and cow hides to allow for a suitable surface to perform a skin graft in a couple of weeks. She proceeded from recovery back to her room and spent the evening resting.
She will have a small pump and hose attached to her forearm for the next 5 weeks in order to keep the wound clean and promote healing. She will not have a standard cast because it will be impossible to clean and redress the wound. She is scheduled to have a skin graft in another 4 weeks, and will have to have the rod surgically removed from her arm after the bones have healed. She will require massive amounts of physical therapy to learn how to use her right hand and thumb again, along with mental therapy to deal with the emotional trauma that she has suffered.
She is currently trying to figure out how to spend her summer since she normally spends most of it in the pool, drawing, and riding her bike which are all things that she will not be doing in the near future. The hardest part for her is that on Thursday June 14th, we were supposed to leave for a family trip to spend a week at DisneyWorld in Orlando, FL. Cassidy was more worried that her younger brother and sister would miss getting to go, than she was with being able to go herself. The trip has been postponed until she has fully recovered.
This little girl has been through a lot and has a long way to go on the road to full recovery. If you are unable to donate we completely understand, please just post this on your wall or pass it on to friends and family via email. Any support you can provide would be greatly appreciated.