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Golf Cart Ride Turns Deadly

Ed Heath - 700 Club Producer

“When I saw her, she was lying in a pool of blood. I knew that she was alive, because she was breathing. But the thoughts that went through my head were – is she gonna make it?”

Victoria Kozlowski struggled not to panic when she saw her 17-year-old daughter, Breanna, lying unconscious in the street. Breanna and a friend were driving a golf cart in their neighborhood when Breanna fell out, hitting her head on the pavement. After calling 911, her friend called Victoria, who arrived just after the paramedics.

“As soon as I saw her laying on the ground, my knees collapsed. Her eyes rolled–were rolled back in the back of her head and she was nonresponsive.”

Breanna was taken to the nearest hospital then flown to the trauma center at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital near Chicago, Illinois. Victoria and her husband raced to get there as quickly as possible.

Victoria remembers that car ride. "All I can think of is, ‘Please, God, save my daughter. Please don't take her from me."’

Neurosurgeon, Doctor Egon Doppenberg and his team were waiting when Breanna arrived.

“She had increased pressure inside the brain because of that blood clot that physically just takes up space inside the skull. Her pupillary response was not present, that means that there potentially is some serious damage on a deep level in the brain. So, we were extremely concerned at that point.”

Victoria recalls getting the news from Dr. Doppenberg. “‘He said, ‘I don’t know how to tell you this, but your daughter is in critical condition, she has this 1% chance and I want to give it to her.’"

Dr. Doppenberg said the first step was to relieve the pressure on Breanna’s brain by removing a large portion of her skull.

“If you don't do this, what's going to happen, the brain swells, there's nowhere to go. So, the pressure inside the skull goes up. It-it just, you know, didn't look good at all, that I could not predict what the outcome would be.”

With her daughter in surgery, Victoria sent out urgent requests for prayer.

“I was posting everywhere about her accident, and I was praying, asking, and pleading for everyone to pray for her.”

Breanna survived the six-hour surgery. However only time would tell how much, if any, brain function she would have.

“Constantly, medication is being tweaked, ventilators are changed, fluids are being rearranged to create that optimum scenario where the intracranial pressure stays within normal,” Dr. Doppenberg explains.

“He's like, ‘We don't know exactly how long it's going to be before she can come back to herself. And, if she does, we don't know how much of herself she – is going to come back,’" Victoria remembers.

With Breanna in a medically induced coma, Victoria visited her daughter every day, as loved ones, friends, and their Christian community continued to pray.

“The presence of the Holy Spirit was definitely in her room, and I could feel it. Especially when I would play the soft music and I would start to pray,” Victoria recalls. 

After three weeks, the swelling in Breanna’s brain had gone down enough for doctors to bring the young girl out of her coma. They would soon find out if there was any brain damage.

“At one point I prayed, and I asked God, ‘Please, whatever you do, I don't care how you give her back to me, as long as you give her back to me.”’

Incredibly, soon after waking up, Breanna was able to move her eyes on command.

Dr. Doppenberg was cautiously optimistic. “We still had a long way to go, but it was the first step in the right direction.”

While doctors were cautious, Victoria saw it as a sign that prayers were being answered.

“She was coming back. Not just that she's alive, but the fact that we see neuro functions now. We see eye movement. She's recognizing people. She's seeing people in the room. That was very, very exciting.”

Breanna improved rapidly and was soon moved out of ICU to a regular hospital room. She was disoriented at first, but it was a good sign.

“It was definitely encouraging to see how quickly she was recovering,” Victoria recalls.

Two weeks later, she was transferred to a rehab hospital. Breanna would have a remarkable recovery, as her cognitive and motor skills continued to improve quickly. Then, on October 7, Breanna went home. Although she still needed more therapy and surgery to close her skull, Breanna and her family were ecstatic.   

“Having her home was such a load off my shoulders, because at this point, I knew that she was doing good, and she was gonna be okay,” Victoria says.

“When I got home from the hospital, I was praying, thanking God for giving me a second chance at life,” Breanna recalls.

A month later Doctor Doppenberg patched the hole in Breanna’s skull with a 3d printed panel, marveling at her recovery.  

“All my colleagues and-and everybody that has been involved in her care, are like it, yeah, it is a miracle.”

Breanna and her family are grateful for the doctors and all those who prayed, knowing that, ultimately, it was God’s touch that gave Breanna healing and a second chance at life.

“If you were to meet her today, you would never think she ever even had an injury,” Victoria declares.

“I was just so incredibly happy and so grateful and thankful for every single person that sent me prayers because all those prayers saved my life,” Breanna says.

Victoria is grateful also. “Sometimes we pray, and things are not granted to us. Or things are granted to us in a different way. But God has very mysterious ways of working. God is by our side every waking moment. He watches over us and I have this connection with him that I never had before.”

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