KMS fourth-grader Macy Rohner Erickson recovering from life-threatening horse accident
PENNOCK –– All summer long, 9-year-old Macy Rohner Erickson had been working with her 4-H calf named Mosley in anticipation of showing it at the Kandiyohi County Fair next week.
But instead of fine-tuning the halter training on the young animal and finishing her other 4-H projects, Macy has been fighting for every breath after being trampled on the chest by a horse two weeks ago at her family’s rural Pennock farm.
The accident crushed one of Macy’s lungs and broke multiple ribs.
The little girl, who is going to be a fourth-grader at Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg School District, is lucky to be alive, said her mother, Monica Rohner.
Just three minutes after the helicopter landed with her at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital on the evening of July 17, Macy flatlined.
“She crashed on the table,” said Rohner, in a telephone interview from Children’s Hospital.
Medical personnel moved quickly.
After eight minutes of CPR, Macy was resuscitated.
“Thank God everybody was in the right spot, where they needed to be, to bring little Macy back to us,” said Rohner, who is an obstetrics nurse at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.
Last week, during a grueling, 6½-hour surgery, doctors removed the top lobe of Macy’s right lung.
In a series of ups and downs dealing with pain, breathing and eating, she is gradually being weaned from tubes that pumped oxygen, food and medicine into her body.
“She might be small, but she’s tough,” said Rohner, adding that just a few days before the accident, the 70-pound, blond-haired girl had been hefting hay bales that weighed 45 to 50 pounds.
Macy and her 14-year-old sister, Dacotah, typically ride their horses nearly every day, said Rohner.
That was the plan two weeks ago when they were bringing their horses from the pasture.
But Dacotah’s horse – a quarter horse that’s the biggest one on the Rohner farm – got spooked by some wire and thundered away, plowing Macy down in the process.
Rohner was at a 4-H leaders’ meeting when she got a frantic call from her son, Gavin.
“He was hysterical,” she said. “He said, ‘come home. Macy got hurt bad.’”
A family member started driving Macy to Rice Hospital.
Rohner met them down the road, jumped in the car and called 911.
Although Macy was struggling to breath, Rohner said her daughter was able to say, “Hurry, Mom. Hurry,” as the car sped down the road.
Their vehicle was met midway by the Willmar Ambulance and Pennock First Responders.
“I picked her up and ran to the ambulance,” said Rohner.
After being intubated at Rice, Macy was airlifted to the Twin Cities.
“She did not look good when she got in the helicopter,” said Rohner. “I prayed that there would be an angel with her.”
As Macy was flown to Children’s Hospital, Rohner and extended family members made the trek in a caravan of cars.
The drive was the “quietest and longest ride to the Cities ever,” said Rohner. “We prayed the whole way.”
She knew others in her church and farm community were also praying.
“I think we definitely needed the prayers,” she said.
With her mother constantly at her side in the pediatric intensive care unit, Macy has been wowing doctors with her recovery.
“They’re amazed because of the extent of her injuries and that she was able to pull through … and that she’s recovering as fast as she is … and how strong she is,” said Rohner.
With the help of physical and occupational therapists, Macy has taken a few steps with a walker and has started to eat more solid food.
Some days are better than others.
Macy is still struggling with the use of one arm, said Rohner, but there was no apparent cognitive damage as a result of oxygen deprivation before she was resuscitated.
Getting better and going home in time for the County Fair is the goal Macy is working toward.
“We’re still hoping to get her out of here by the fair,” said Rohner. “We have high hopes, Macy and I do.”
Rohner has not left her daughter’s side since the accident.
She said the support she and Macy have received, and the help her two other children back home have received in her absence, has left her awestruck.
“Everybody’s just been unbelievable,” said Rohner, who wonders how she can thank everyone. “It’s wonderful how nice and how helpful everyone is being.”
A benefit for Macy will be held Sept. 14 at the Pennock Fire Department.