Riding her bike to school one day, Jordan Duffy experienced an accident that would change her life forever. Not wearing a helmet, she and a friend pulled out of her family's driveway and began to pedal away. Suddenly, an approaching car veered towards the teens, causing her to collide head-on, flip head over heels and land on her head.
A neighbor witnessed the impact and the seizure that followed, and called 911. Other neighbors ran over to help. “It was surreal,” said Jordan’s dad, Matthew. “She was out of it. Moving, but not moaning. Rubbing her head, but not speaking.”
An ambulance whisked her to a nearby hospital, where a CT scan revealed a fractured skull and bleeding between the skull and the dura, part of the membrane that covers the brain. The bleeding, called a subdural hematoma, can put pressure on the brain if not controlled quickly, so Jordan was transferred to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), for emergency brain surgery. The family knew the hospital well: Matthew’s brother Kevin is a Westchester Medical Center ICU nurse and happened to be on duty that day.
Jordan’s mother, Tracie, rode in the ambulance with her. “She was still out of it," she said. "They told us to keep her awake.” Jordan never lost consciousness but remembers only bits and pieces of events from when she got on her bike to arriving at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Once there, the family was met by pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Avinash Mohan, who rushed to the Emergency Department. “He was out of breath, but he took the time to introduce himself to us and to Jordan and explain what he was going to do,” Matthew remembered.
He needed to remove the fractured pieces of Jordan’s skull as quickly as possible. The bleeding had increased, and pressure on her brain was mounting. “With children especially, the earlier you decompress the brain, the better,” he said. “When I saw her, she was sleepy and clearly not herself, but looked okay. These things can deteriorate quickly, and the CT scan showed that she wasn’t going to be okay within the next 15 to 20 minutes.”
Continue reading Jordan's race for survival via Advancing Care in the Hudson Valley.