Patient Stories

Harrowing Horseback Accident

If you looked up ‘fierce’ or ‘fearless’ in the dictionary, you’d find pictures of a ten-year-old girl named Reese. In July 2023, Reese was bucked off her horse while moving cattle with her family in the Ochoco National Forest after it was spooked by something nearby. As the first part of their cattle drive took place near the highway, she was thrown head-first into some nearby pavement. When her family reached her, she was unresponsive and not breathing.

Shocked and panicked, her family was still able to open her airway and get Reese breathing again. Without cell service and an hour from the nearest hospital, they loaded her into their pickup truck and began driving toward Prineville, Oregon. After what felt like an eternity, they were eventually able to make a 911 call and were met by Crook County Fire & Rescue. The EMS crew stabilized Reese enroute and delivered her to St. Charles Health System in Prineville, where her family was notified that Life Flight Network was on their way. Reese’s injuries were severe, and she needed to be transferred to OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon.

“The crew were so gracious, allowing me to ride along with my daughter,” said Reese’s mom Steffany. “It was a quiet ride as I dealt with the emotions of seeing my daughter in that condition, but the whole crew was so compassionate, and they took great care of my girl.”

Reese has always wanted to fly in a helicopter but was unconscious during the transport. She was so bummed to have missed her first ride that she asked her nurses if she could ride home in a helicopter once discharged. Everyone enjoyed a giggle at her enthusiasm.

Reese sustained significant injuries to her face, head, and spine and spent a week in the hospital but has since made a remarkable recovery. Her family expects she’ll ‘get back on the horse’ in no time.

“Thank you to Life Flight Network and all the doctors and nurses who cared for me so I could feel better and get back home,” – Reese.


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