NNA SURELY HAD AN ANGEL ON HER SHOULDER one
afternoon in May 1999 and the months that followed. Her life took
an unexpected detour that day. Anna’s strong will, the kindness
of a complete stranger, her parents’ profound love, and the excellence
and compassion of CHRISTUS Spohn Associates helped this beautiful
young woman not only survive, but live a rich, full life.
Anna, 26, was on her way to work when her pickup struck another
vehicle and burst into flames. A man who witnessed the accident
ran across the busy freeway and pulled Anna from the fiery wreckage.
Although Anna had been severely burned on 35 percent of her body,
this kind man saved her from more extensive burns and a certain
ambulance rushed Anna to CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Memorial. She was
admitted to the burn unit with third-degree burns on her face, arms,
chest and back, a broken arm and other injuries. The first time
Anna’s mother visited her after the accident, she couldn’t believe
the person she saw was her daughter. Anna’s face was so swollen
her mother could not distinguish her nose from her chin. Her eyebrows
and eyelashes had been burned off. She was on a ventilator. Strong
medications to control her pain and anxiety kept her unconscious
during her entire stay in the burn unit.
Anna’s parents could not bear to leave their daughter when she obviously
needed their love more than ever before. So, they remained in a
small area of the waiting room to be near her at all times. At night,
they slept in sleeping bags on the floor. To comfort their daughter,
they kept her favorite Tejano music playing constantly in her room
and during baths in the hydrotherapy tank.
On at least two occasions, they were told Anna had systemic infections
and probably would not live through the night. Determined to pull
her through, her parents talked to Anna constantly, telling her
over and over: “You must survive. We need you.”
And survive she did. One year later, she was still undergoing weekly
physical and occupational therapy, but the rest of the time she
was planning her wedding.
Nurses who cared for Anna believe the young woman is a walking,
talking miracle. Each time Anna was close to death, her will to
survive and her family’s love and devotion pulled her through. The
staff was inspired by what they saw. It gave them hope that God’s
healing power will see other seriously burned patients through another
To this day, Anna has no recollection of the accident or of the
2 1/2; months she spent in the burn unit, undergoing daily hydrotherapy
treatments and numerous skin graft surgeries on her arms. But every
now and then, she’ll hear a Tejano song that sounds so very familiar,
yet she doesn’t know why. She feels blessed.
Burn Unit Associates
CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Memorial
Corpus Christi, Texas