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Medical update on young Jaycie West

Jaycie West

Five-year-old Jaycie West lay in the hospital bed. She overheard a nurse explain that sick children were not permitted to go to the family waiting room, even to quietly celebrate a brother's fourth birthday.

"I'm not sick. I just got kicked in the head by a horse." She was wheeled down to see her brother, Eastan.

On Friday, January 25th, Jaycie was with her mother, Amber, her father, Zach, and her brother at the Central States Fair Event Center. She was, as usual, on her mother's horse, but this time it spooked into a gallop. Jaycie fell off and her head was struck by a shod hoof.

First responders were by her side within minutes. Later, Doctor Sylvanus Ayeni, a neurological surgeon with 32 years experience from Washington, DC, stated that the severity of the skull fracture was among some of the worst that he has ever seen. Yet, Jaycie's chances of recovery are as good as he has ever seen.

Jaycie was on complete sedation for three days. The ventilator tube needed during that time has since been removed. She can now talk clearly, though her voice is still quiet because of the irritation caused by the tube. She has been taken from intensive care and is now in the Rapid City Regional Hospital's pediatric ward.

The missing one-and-a-half inch by three inch missing section of her skull will one day have to be filled in. Her left leg and arm currently have limited and weak mobility, though they have complete sensory reception. She began physical therapy on February 4th. Doctors say that there is no reason Jaycie shouldn't, in time, experience a complete recovery.

Until then, Amber and Zach West, grandmother, JoAnn West, aunt, Tayta West, aunt, Lindsey Mikita, and many other family and friends will be by Jaycie's side. Amber trains barrel horses and also competes in barrel racing. Zach is a cattle feed supplement supplier and a rodeo contestant.

LouAnn Fite is coordinating initial fundraisers to help with Jaycie's medical and recovery expenses. Several other matching fundraisers are already being organized. A website has been created and will be continually updated by Amber. That site, www.caringbridge/visit/jaciewest, has already received over 3,000 visits. A benefit account has been established at the First National Bank in Philip, P.O. Box 910, Philip, SD 57567.

Grandfather, Doug West, said, "The magnitude of the people who have heard of this, their thoughts, their prayers, are amazing. This is a miracle recovery." He said that the very first responder who was at Jaycie's side, and every doctor, nurse and assistant who had contact with Jaycie go back every day to check on her. "They treat her like she is their own child. I'm amazed at all of these people."

Jaycie may have other visitors now. She is alert and still acts like a little girl. One morning, she looked at the cards that the nurse was holding up. The front card had a drawing of flowers. When asked, "What are these?", Jaycie answered, "They're flashcards."