Girl, 2, recovering after losing leg, foot to mower

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ILA, Ga. - Two-year-old Victoria Hinesley faces a long road ahead, but the toddler doesn't know how many people back home in Madison County are pulling for her.

Victoria lost her left leg below the knee and her right foot July 18, when her father, Billy Hinesley, accidentally ran over the child with a riding lawn mower.

In the intensive care unit at Egleston Children's Hospital in Atlanta, Victoria faces months of healing, fitting for prosthetic limbs and physical therapy to learn to walk again.

In the meantime, churches and individuals are starting to donate to a fund to help the family through the next six months.

Patsy and Billy Hinesley are in Atlanta with their oldest daughter, while grandmother Barbara White cares for Victoria's younger brothers, Billy, 17 months, and Joshua, who turned 1 month old on Thursday.

"Her wounds are starting to heal," Mrs. White said.

Doctors performed a skin graft Wednesday, and the family hopes the procedure will be the last surgery for Victoria.

The accident left her father wounded in a different way, Mrs. White said.

"Billy, he's in his own little world, but he'll make it," she said. "It's hard, but they are a really, really strong couple."

Injuries such as Victoria's aren't uncommon.

Each year, 9,400 children are injured in lawn mower accidents, and 7 percent of those injuries involve amputations or torn nerves, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. One-fifth of childhood amputations are caused by lawn mowers.

Children's Healthcare System of Atlanta, which includes Egleston and Scottish Rite, is treating three children who lost limbs in lawn mower accidents, according to Colleen Coulter-O'Berry, who has worked in the system's amputee program for 25 years.

As the team leader of the limb deficiency program, Ms. Coulter-O'Berry has seen the damage a mower can do.

"The problem is, she is not alone," Ms. Coulter-O'Berry said. "We have several kids like her.

"Lawn mower injuries are quite common. It could be a toe or foot, and it happens mostly in the spring and summer," she said.

A mower blade leaves a dirty, jagged wound, meaning the child first has to fight off infection before doctors begin the next step of rehabilitation.

"They never are just a clean injury," she said. "Before you can even think prosthetics, you have to take care of the wounds."

Therapists are working on Victoria's strength, and her tender age could mean she will handle the long months of rehabilitation better than an older child would.

A teenager or adult would struggle with loss, Ms. Coulter-O'Berry said, and Victoria's muscles will relearn walking better than they would if she'd walked without prosthetics for years.

Plus, a child's drive to play will overcome, the veteran therapist said.

"Kids want to play. They want to get up and run. They know it hurts, but on the other hand they want to play," she said.

"It's not that they don't get depressed," she added. At each change in life - starting elementary school, moving to middle school - curious kids will ask Victoria what happened, and she'll have to explain.

But Mrs. White - "Nanny" to Victoria - is hopeful.

"Time heals all wounds," she said, "especially with God."

Donors can give to a fund for Victoria through any Merchants and Farmers Bank.

Reach Allison Floyd at allison.floyd@morris.com.

Comments (17) Add comment
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pofwe
5
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pofwe 08/14/07 - 07:49 am
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I wasn't there, but I don't

I wasn't there, but I don't understand how in the world this could happen. Somebody, (like Billy Hinesley), wasn't paying attention.

cantgetright
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cantgetright 08/14/07 - 08:01 am
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Judge not pofwe, this man and

Judge not pofwe, this man and his family are in extreme pain, both mental and physical,my heart and prayers go out to them.

tdp
0
Points
tdp 08/14/07 - 08:27 am
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0
What is the point of this

What is the point of this article? How could a writer write an article like this but fail to say what happened in the accident. In my opinion, this article is pointless and should have never been printed as is. Shouldn't the writer, as well as her editor, have noticed this before it was printed? Very disappointing.

dixie1960
0
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dixie1960 08/14/07 - 08:34 am
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Why does eveyone always need

Why does eveyone always need to know the details of a story, cant you just say, "that is terrible, i will be praying for this family"

SunDown
2
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SunDown 08/14/07 - 08:42 am
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I read the whole story, and

I read the whole story, and when I got to the end I couldn't help but ask myself... what happened? It is human nature.

tdp
0
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tdp 08/14/07 - 09:00 am
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Dixie1960....I think the

Dixie1960....I think the details of the story should have been included to help others avoid a similar situation in the future. For instance, was the girl riding the lawnmower with her father when she fell off & was run over, or was she merely playing near the lawnmower when she was run over. I think it is important to know so that others can be more aware. My father always wants to take my daughter for a ride on the lawnmower but my husband (a safety professional) & I won't allow it because of the danger. If she was riding with him & somehow fell off, I could email this story to him and say, "look what can happen when you let kids ride on lawnmowers." Most people don't respond well to general warnings. They need something more specific.

brownskin30434
2
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brownskin30434 08/14/07 - 09:08 am
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0
How did these parents manage

How did these parents manage to have children ages two, sevrnteen months and one year? Was this a misprint?

tdp
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tdp 08/14/07 - 09:10 am
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Just wanted to apologize to

Just wanted to apologize to the author, Allison, for being so harsh in my original posting & my email to her. She responded to my email by saying the story was about recovery, not the accident, and that is why accident details were not included. Thank you, Allison, for your prompt & professional response.

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
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WorriedAboutOurFuture 08/14/07 - 09:56 am
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0
The point of a story like

The point of a story like this is to help us stay alert with our own children and grandchildren, and to help generate prayers and contributions for this suffering family. Don't you think it's a pretty coldhearted to make comments about how and why it happened? Sure seems like it to me.

butterflygina
159
Points
butterflygina 08/14/07 - 10:01 am
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This story was about

This story was about Victoria's road ahead. Riding lawnmower, atv and backing over children are common these days. Just a word of advice, it may be fun, but your small loved one should not be riding around with you on a lawn-mower or atv. A grandfather in SC was riding his atv w/his 18 month old grandson in the front yard. For some reason, he couldn't stop and ran into a jeep parked in the driveway. The grandchild died from the injuries (his head hit the jeep in the collision). Several years ago, a school-age South Augusta girl, was riding in a go-cart. Her hair got caught up in it and she suffered hair and scalp injuries. If you own a vehicle and happen to be in the presence of a child, make sure someone else is physically with that child when you drive away from the house. At my house, another family member actually holds the child as they wave bye-bye. It is up to us to protect the children. So many accidents are avoidable. And on another note, when you buy your child a bike, buy them a helmet as well. They cost under $15 and it can save their life. Granted you may not see many children riding with helmets but the children can start a movement if we give them the motivation.

crt3036
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crt3036 08/14/07 - 10:06 am
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grace, can you not read, it

grace, can you not read, it said 1 month.

elizabeth61
0
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elizabeth61 08/14/07 - 12:20 pm
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To Grace Whitfield: Read the

To Grace Whitfield: Read the article again. It says Joshua turned one month old on Thursday, not one year old.

Venus
0
Points
Venus 08/14/07 - 12:44 pm
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0
God Bless thlis child and her

God Bless thlis child and her family. Who care how or what happen! This family has a long road to recovery so we all should be lifting them up in payer.

PlayaFace
0
Points
PlayaFace 08/14/07 - 01:48 pm
0
0
what shocks me is that it

what shocks me is that it said it is pretty common. what? people run over their kids with lawn mowers all the time?

kiddspur
2
Points
kiddspur 08/14/07 - 02:00 pm
0
0
It can happen to anyone, my

It can happen to anyone, my son got run over by a lawn mower and he was the one driving-- didn't watch what he was doing and fell of and it got his hand -- by the way he was 17 at the time.

mable8
2
Points
mable8 08/14/07 - 04:56 pm
0
0
What a tragedy; I feel for

What a tragedy; I feel for the child and her parents. Accidents do happen. When anyone is mowing here at our house, the little ones and the dogs are in the house. I do know of several orthopedists who refuse to use power mowers because they see so many of these type of accidents. Hope the little one has a speedy recovery.

mlee81
0
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mlee81 08/14/07 - 07:51 pm
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0
I'm a prosthetist and I've

I'm a prosthetist and I've had several patients who lost their limbs in this manner. Most cases were from riding on the mower and falling off and the parent not being able to stop. More often than not they were backing up when it happened. As a two year old, if there are no complications, she should be able to recover very well. The article is right about kids wanting to play. The biggest problem I have with kids and their prosthetic limbs is that they don't think to tell their parents when something is rubbing or umcomfortable. Kids will play through the pain.

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