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Car accident in Africa

Location: Djibouti, Africa

While driving to Dikhil, Djibouti, to help train an English teacher, Jaime Bruce's car collided with a semi-truck. The driver of the car died, and another passenger suffered minor injuries. Jaime was stuck in the wrecked car, and realized she was seriously injured. An ambulance arrived and rushed her to the nearby French military hospital.

Jaime's volunteer program coordinator called FrontierMEDEX for help, and our Assistance Coordinators immediately contacted the hospital. Unfortunately, the hospital's CT scan was not working, so doctors set to work repairing Jaime's leg, which was the most obvious, pressing injury. Because of the level of health care in the country, there were no other CT scans available. Thankfully, the scan started working the next day, and revealed that Jaime had massive internal injuries.

Our medical team consulted with the local treating physicians and learned that Jaime was diagnosed with multiple severe injuries, including:

two collapsed lungs

• a pulmonary embolism

• a ruptured diaphragm

• a ruptured spleen

• a ruptured cecum (part of the colon)

• a ruptured patellar ligament

• a fractured femur

• a fractured patella

• a fractured tibia

• a fractured fibula

• a fractured pubic symphysis

• a fractured pelvis, and

• two fractured ribs

In Jaime's words, "My spleen had shot through my diaphragm, my stomach had been rearranged, I had intestinal injuries, and my lung had detached."

The FrontierMEDEX team consulted with the local doctors managing Jaime's care, keeping them informed of the status of the situation and planning the next steps. It was clear that Jaime would need to be evacuated to a country with better medical facilities in order to be fully treated and for long-term care. However, Jaime was in such critical condition that an evacuation may have further jeopardized her health. Her spleen was in such a state that physicians feared that it could rupture during transport, causing Jaime to bleed to death.

Our Emergency Response Center remained in constant contact with Jaime's family, the volunteer organization, and the US Embassy while she was stabilizing. Jaime's parents were distraught and felt helpless from their location in Texas, so we quickly arranged for them to travel to Djibouti to join their daughter.

It took five days for Jaime to become stable enough for evacuation. Due to the extent and severity of her injuries, our medical team recommended evacuating Jaime to Europe. Our Assistance Coordinators worked directly with the selected air ambulance company to evacuate Jaime and provide care for her in-flight.

Jaime was in a Paris hospital for five weeks. There, she had multiple surgeries and slowly recuperated to the point where she could return home to Texas. FrontierMEDEX remained in contact with Jaime, her family and her program coordinator throughout the entire process, and made flight arrangements for Jaime to return home for long-term treatment.

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