Gale M.'s Story

Daytona, FL

"Follow your heart and love with all you have/are at any moment in your life. You won’t regret it if you learn from it.

Our lives will forever be altered without you.


No Visitors


“When you get the call that no parent wants to receive, your most important thing at that moment is seeing them, comforting them, and making sure they are ok.”

"Follow your heart and love with all you have/are at any moment in your life. You won’t regret it if you learn from it. Grieving is a part of life, and you are allowed to grieve when you feel the need and SHOULD NOT feel guilty for it. And your heart will break many, many times, but it’s ultimately up to you to pick up the pieces and put it back together each time." On April 29, 2020, one day after my daughter’s 26th birthday, she was hit and run over by a car in a crosswalk. As she lay face down on the pavement, with none of her extremities in the correct place, her boyfriend, Sebastian comforted her until she was taken away by ambulance. When you get the call that no parent wants to receive, your most important thing at that moment is seeing them, comforting them, and making sure they are ok. As my husband and I made our 2-hour drive to where she was taken too, the only thing I prayed for was for my baby girl to be ok. I never once thought I would not be able to see her, let alone be with her to make sure she was taken care of. And little did Sebastian know that the next time he saw her would be to say his goodbyes. The thought of me not being able to be with her never even crossed my mind. I was working at the largest tertiary trauma center, and even in the midst of COVID, we still allowed at least one family member in for non-covid patients. So, as I rushed into the ER, I was quickly stopped by the officer at the desk. I was told there would be no visitors. I called the house supervisor and begged to just let me see her. I would put on any PPE needed, if I could just lay my eyes on her. Again, I was told no.


No Communication


At this time, I had received a call from her nurse in the ICU to let me know that she was stable. He mentioned that she had pneumothorax, a broken arm, and a leg and would have surgery in the morning. I knew that she was alert and awake when she was taken from the scene from what Sebastian told me. Having worked in healthcare for almost 30 years, I left for the night, trusting she was in a good place and given the care and attention she needed. The hospital allowed us to take her a computer and some other necessities, but we still could not see her. We were able to facetime her when she had a nurse assist her. I could see she had a massive bruise over her right eye that was swollen shut. Her other arm was broken, and her scapula was broken. I was told she had a broken pelvis but could never get a clear answer of all of her injuries and which arm or leg that was broken. We could see from facetiming that the nurse had to lift her drink to her mouth because she could not lift it high enough with her arm that wasn’t broken. Over the next few days, I requested to speak to one of the doctors taking care of her. She had two extensive surgeries by that time, and I wanted to know her progress and what to expect. After calling the house supervisor multiple times over the next four days, I received a call from the hospitalist telling me she was being moved to a private room. I pleaded with her that she needed someone with her because she was non-weight bearing on all extremities. The doctor would not even discuss that with me.


Back To The ICU


“I had received a text from Em saying, Mom, I need you up here today.”

On May 4th, day five since her accident, I was allowed one hour to visit with her. I spoke to the charge nurse briefly and never spoke to a doctor. I received many calls and texts from her telling me how much pain she was in and that no one would come. I did my best to calm her and say they were busy, but someone would come. I had to call the nurse’s station to get someone to help her. Each time I spoke with a nurse, I requested a call from a doctor and was told time after time, “I will leave them a message.” Again, I made calls to the house supervisor requesting a call from a physician. Sometimes I was told that they were not calling because of HIPPA. However, she had been asked in the ER and had given them mine and my husband’s name and cell number as well as my sister’s, who is a PA. On day 7, May 6, I had received a text from Em saying, Mom, I need you up here today. After FaceTime with her for a few minutes, I realized she had become very short of breath and was nauseated. She was nauseated from the very first day. I called the house supervisor again, requesting specifically to talk to the orthopedic doctor. She said she would have him call me; he was in his office that day. There were 21 phone calls between myself and the hospital during her seven-day stay. Two of those calls were from doctors. The last and only one I received from the trauma doctor was at 11:24 that morning to tell me Em had aspirated, coded, put on a breathing machine, and moved back to ICU. He never once told me my daughter was dying. I learned that after my sister called to get her vital signs. She called in tears, telling me Em was dying, that she had coded again and we needed to get to the hospital.


The Tragic End


“No parent should ever see their child with that many tubes coming out of them.”

The sad truth is that I had to read her autopsy report and her medical records to know the true extent of her injuries and why she died. I read where a parent once said, “No parent should ever see their child with that many tubes coming out of them,” “I never felt so helpless in my life, to be able to do nothing but sit there, hold their hand and pray for them.” I disagree. What my husband and I had to do that day, NO PARENT should ever have to do. I had to look into my husband’s eyes and wait until he had accepted the conclusion I had. I’ve been in codes, and I know the trauma that is done. The next thing I had to do was to call my son. How do you respond when he begs and pleads with me to say it’s not true? How does his wife deal when she hears her husband conversing with a nurse begging her not to let his sister die? Someone, for God’s sake, TELL ME HOW YOU DO THAT? My Dearest Em, I tried so hard to protect you. It was difficult because you were as headstrong as me. I tried to do what was best for you those days you were in the hospital. I know in some ways I failed you. I also made poor decisions and left you there alone, but honestly, I truly thought you were in the best place. Dad and I have been cleaning out old things, and today he came across your memory book from when you were in the 8th grade. There were two letters written to you, one from Dad and one from me. My letter ended with me telling you how proud I was of the strong woman you had become. How little did you know how strong you would truly become? Our lives will forever be altered without you. Love Mom



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