Good Samaritans Save 4-Year-Old Who Suffered "Internal Decapitation"

It took an hour for responders to arrive, but help was already on the scene. 


A child in Idaho is alive today thanks to the quick and smart-thinking of passing good samaritans. After the car carrying Killian Gonzalez, four years old, went over a rough patch of ice and skidded into oncoming traffic on May 22, the boy suffered an internal decapitation, specifically: “a fracture at the base of his skull where the brain stem connects to the spinal cord,” according to a fundraising page established for him, an injury that fewer one percent who experience it survive. Luckily, a local officer and his wife were driving by the accident on the way home from a camping trip and held the boy still while awaiting emergency responders, likely saving his life.

Leah Woodward and her husband, Joel Woodward, an officer with the Nampa, Idaho Police Department heard Killian’s screaming from their car and pulled over to see if they could help.

“Inside, I am panicking, and I am thinking, I don’t know what I am doing,’ Ms. Woodward told television station, KBOI.

‘And my husband took a hitch… somebody had a hitch… and he smashed out the back window of Brandy’s vehicle.’

Fighting the very human instinct to remove the child from the car wreck and coddle him, Leah Woodward sat Killian up and held him immobile inside the car.

“Thank God [my husband] Joel knew what was needed because it definitely saved his life on that day,” she wrote.

Leah Woodward (right) held Killian Gonzalez's body still for close to an hour, likely saving the life of the son of Brandy Gonzalez (left) who herself experienced broken arms and legs in the crash. 

Killian is currently expected to make a full recovery. His mother, who experienced broken arms and legs, and the driver of the car that collided with Killian and his mother are also in recovery. Killian is already sitting up in bed and eating solid food, a rare and happy turnaround for an injury that is infamous for taking the lives of children in car crashes.

At 3:14 p.m. on May 22, during a hail storm, a car carrying Killian Gonzalez and his mother Brandy collided with oncoming traffic. 


“Especially younger patients, the head is like a bowling ball on a stick,” Dr. Nicholas Theodore, director of spinal surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute, who has conducted operations on at least 60 patients with similar injuries, told The New York Times. “Their head sort of bobbles.”

What is remarkable is that Woodwards were able to perform on-the-scene emergency aid perfectly according to protocol, despite the high emotions of the tragic scene.

“You don’t ever want to move an injury patient unless a car is on fire. Immobilizing a child is exactly what you want to do,” Dr. Theodore added.

A GoFundMe page set up to raise money to help with Killian’s recovery has already raised over $5,000. After a pair of good samaritans rescued Killian and Brandy Gonzalez on the side of the road, it seems they have now found more people willing to help out online.

Killian Gonzalez suffered "a fracture at the base of his skull where the brain stem connects to the spinal cord" in a car accident on May 22 but is expected to make a full recovery. 

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