Jon Sedman, 41, doesn’t remember when the race car crushed him. He doesn’t remember his eight-month pregnant girlfriend, Christa Meissner, going into labour prematurely when she learned of the accident, not knowing if he would live long enough to be a father.
“The last thing I remember is setting up a fireworks show at a car racing event on Vancouver Island when suddenly, it started to rain,” says Jon. “The fireworks needed to be kept dry, so I went and put a plastic tarp over them.”
As he started to walk back to his truck, in a split second, one of the race cars lost control. It veered off the track, flipped and landed on top of Jon.
“When Jon arrived, he had multi-system trauma which takes a lot of coordination of care and a lot of different subspecialists to manage,” says Dr. Naisan Garraway, Medical Director of the Trauma Program at VGH.
Jon’s injuries were extensive: he had a pelvic fracture with a vascular injury, splenic injury, c-spine ligamentous injuries, nerve injury to his leg and brain trauma.
Before surgery, while Jon lay unconscious in the ER, Christa sat beside him holding his hand as the contractions were becoming more frequent.
“I said, We’re gonna make it through this one way or another,” says Christa. Jon was then taken in for surgery and Christa was transferred to her planned birthing hospital.
Ten physicians from six different specialties worked together to care for Jon and save his life.
“In BC, Jon could only have received this type of specialized and expert treatment at VGH,” says Dr. Emilie Joos, one of Jon’s trauma surgeons at VGH.
“I just remember kind of waking up and, and hearing some lady say, you’re at VGH, you’ve been in an accident,” says Jon.
While Jon was undergoing surgery for his life-threatening injuries, his partner, Christa, was giving birth. In a twist of fate, at the same time one of Jon’s trauma surgeons was working on him, that surgeon’s husband was helping Christa while she was delivering her baby.
A month later, Jon was woken from his medically induced coma — a necessity to allow his body to heal. He awoke to meet his healthy son for the first time. Christa had waited so they could name him together — they chose Kayden Meissner-Sedman.
Jon survived, however, the road to recovery would be a long and arduous one. While the couple once thought Jon may never walk again, he has defied the odds and is walking and getting stronger every day.
Thanks to the care he received, Jon is now living at home again. While he still requires ongoing physiotherapy and has a long road ahead of him, Jon is grateful to be alive.
“My angels are the trauma team, all the doctors at VGH, and the first responders…everybody who worked hard to get me to where I am today.”
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