The last time Patrick Auger, Marcie Beaudoin, and John Holbrook saw seven-year-old Victoria “Tori” Wilson, she was unconscious and barely alive.
When they were reunited with her Friday morning, they fittingly hung out in an ambulance — where they first met.
The Ornge critical care flight paramedics helped save Tori after she suffered a serious head injury at school last October.
“Tori was playing on the playground and then she was coming one way, another little boy was coming another way around the corner, and they collided heads,” said her dad, Roger Wilson.
She was initially diagnosed with a concussion in the emergency room.
The next day, Tori was complaining about a headache.
A short time later, her mom, Susie, found her unconscious in her bedroom and called 911.
After paramedics assessed Tori, they called in Ornge, who flew her to CHEO in one of their iconic bright-orange helicopters.
Ornge is often compared to a “hospital in the sky,” because the equipment onboard is equivalent to an Intensive Care Unit.
“(We gave her a) medication that helps take some of the pressure off of her brain from the swelling that was occurring in there and the fluid that was accumulating inside her brain,” said pediatric transport paramedic and R.N. John Holbrook.
Once they reached the hospital, the situation became tense.
“It was like ‘she needs surgery NOW. She should’ve been in surgery an hour ago … it just kept getting worse and worse and worse,” said Roger.
A CT scan showed a broken bone in her temple, which had cut an artery and was causing blood to pool inside her brain.
Tori had emergency brain surgery to remove a four-inch blood clot.
The other child had a big bump on his head for about a month, but is otherwise OK.
Tori was released from CHEO Dec. 23 but hasn’t yet returned to school.
“With the injury, she has basically the attention span of about an hour. And after an hour, it’s what we call ‘the wall,’ where she hits the wall,” said her dad.
But it hasn’t affected her spirit.
She laughs and plays with Holbrook and her four-year-old sister Rianna inside the ambulance.
“It’s such a rewarding feeling to watch her play and having a good time, laughing,” said Holbrook.
“I can’t say it any better than it’s just a miracle,”
And even though her boots are pink, Tori said her favourite colour is orange.