Victoria Kempton, a fifth grader at Magnolia Elementary School, is home and recovering from her injuries sustained in a serious bicycle accident on a steep grade on Oak Avenue on Monday, Sept. 20. The 10-year-old was medi-flighted directly to UC Davis Hospital due to concerns for possible brain injury because of a skull fracture and swelling.
Victoria’s mom, Tara Lahey, reported that her daughter was admitted as “level three trauma, critical.” Her jaw was broken in three places: at the point of the chin and on both sides near her ears. She had plastic surgery to realign her jaw and it was wired shut. She suffered a concussion and all of her teeth were broken in the crash as well. Her lip was punctured and she received stitches both on the inside and outside of her lip. She sustained a two-inch cut to her chin and has stitches in it, too. Additionally, Lahey said, her daughter has the normal bruising, road rash, cuts and scrapes.
Victoria was given morphine for her pain for a few hours at the hospital, Lahey said. Once she was cleared from the trauma area, she was transferred to the children’s area of the hospital and then underwent surgery for her jaw after consultations with plastic surgeons. She was able to go home on Sept. 21 after recovering from surgery, just one day after her crash.
Considering all that, Lahey reported that her daughter is doing well.
“She’s still pretty swollen, but not as bad. She looks good, really good,” Lahey said on Friday, Sept 24. “…She’s doing okay, she can talk.”
She added that the doctors told her that the swelling would go down by about half in the first week and the rest will just take time. Victoria is taking antibiotics and has been able to take less of her pain medication.
She has a follow up appointment for her injuries on Sept. 30. All of her teeth must be repaired, but her jaw has to heal first. Lahey said it’s possible that she may need to have another surgery.
Victoria’s medical and dental bills are not fully known, but are expected to be significant and ongoing. Therefore, a trust has been set up at Bank of America called the “Victoria Kempton Trust Fund.”
Lahey is a single mother of three and reported that she recently became unemployed. Victoria’s father, who lives out of state, is also currently unemployed. Lahey said that they recently obtained state Medi-Cal but she doesn’t know what will or won’t be covered, adding that she doesn’t believe it will cover all of Victoria’s medical and dental needs.
“Her teeth may be an issue,” Lahey said, adding that her daughter will likely have to receive caps, professionally known as crowns, for all her teeth. She said they were told crowns last for 10 to 15 years and then need to be redone, so her daughter will have issues with her teeth for the rest of her life.
Oakdale area dentist Dr. Tony Albertoni, who is not Victoria’s dentist, said that it’s true that crowns last about 10 to 15 years, but that he has seen them last longer, depending on how well they’re done in the first place.
He said even though treatment to her teeth may be done, depending on how traumatized her teeth’s nerves are, she could still have problems in a couple of years as a direct result of her accident. He said that sometimes, but not always, the damaged nerves could die; thus, creating the need for root canals. He also said that the nerves in children’s teeth are larger than those of adults and her age makes predicting the outcome more complicated, as crowns can also irritate the nerves.
Still, Lahey reported that Victoria is in good spirits.
“She’s doing well and I’m happy that she’s home,” Lahey said.
Victoria received a warm welcome from the neighbors when she arrived home. There were stuffed animals and flowers in vases, and decorations on the front door.
“When we came home, the neighborhood kids had decorated our door,” Lahey said. “…It was great, it was so appreciated. It made her smile when she came home.”
Victoria’s friends are dropping by to visit and Magnolia’s parent-teacher club also gave her a get-well basket filled with coloring activities, paints, and more.
Additionally, she was feeling well enough to visit her class on Friday, Sept. 24 and her teacher Roberto Cazares said they were very happy to see her.
“Before her visit we all heard rumors of her accident, and the class was truly saddened of hearing about one of their classmates being injured in a bike accident,” Cazares said. “This bike accident hit home for many of them about the importance of wearing a bike helmet. Victoria has a long road to recovery before returning to school, but with her positive attitude, who knows, she may surprise us all.”
Victoria was wearing a helmet, but in this case her face received the brunt of the fall and her helmet did not appear to have sustained any impact.
Lahey said that she doesn’t anticipate that her daughter will be back in school until after the Christmas holiday break because of the extensive injuries to her teeth. In the meantime she will be on “home and hospital study,” which is covered by the district.
“Students will receive their instruction by a certificated district instructor/teacher who will go to the home or agreed upon pre-designated location to provide instruction of lessons,” Cazares explained. “I personally will not be the teacher, but will direct Victoria’s mom on the work to be covered.”
Again, donations to the Victoria Kempton Trust Fund may be made at any Bank of America branch, but it’s important to specify the name of the fund and that it is in Oakdale.