April 10, 2016 started like any normal Sunday in the Crouch household. The family went to church in the morning, had lunch and then the two young brothers, Kelden and Kentley, took a nap while their parents worked around the house. When nap time was over the two boys headed outside excited to play.
Shortly after, the boys decided they wanted to ride on their dad’s lap as he mowed with the riding lawnmower. Both boys climbed aboard and enjoyed riding back and forth with their dad while he cut the grass.
Lawn mower accident
Suddenly, 3-year-old Kelden decided he had enough and while the lawnmower was in motion he jumped off. In an instant, he was swept under the mower.
It was in this moment, that every parent’s nightmare became a reality for Matt and Nicole Crouch.
“I heard Matt come inside screaming my name in a tone I had never heard before. I knew one of my children was hurt instantly,” said Nicole. “I ran upstairs as fast as I could, to see Kelden laying on the ground and Matt grabbing his leg. I didn’t even ask what happened, I truly didn’t even care. Matt looked at me like he saw a ghost and said ‘it’s really bad’.”
Nicole instantly dialed 911 and frantically begged the operator to send an ambulance to their address. Just as the ambulance and fire truck arrived, rain started pouring down. Fortunately, Kelden was quickly transported into the ambulance and rushed away to an Indianapolis area hospital.
Waiting for a diagnosis
While Kelden was in surgery, Matt and Nicole waited, for what felt like hours to hear what they could do for their little boy.
“Our family was arriving shortly after he was taken back to surgery, along with the elders of our church,” said Nicole. “We sat and waited, and waited, and waited. We cried, we prayed, we cried some more, and just kept praying for a miracle. Our phones went off nonstop, with countless people praying for him.”
Unfortunately, they didn’t receive the news they were hoping for. The surgeon recommended amputation for Kelden’s left leg, somewhere below the knee.
“He talked for a long time, I didn’t hear anything else he said. I stopped listening and leaned on Matt’s chest with the worst heartbreak I had ever felt in my life. My heart physically hurt, like nothing I had ever experienced before,” said Nicole.
As Kelden soundly slept after surgery, Matt and Nicole tried to figure out how to put their lives back together and find a solution for their sweet boy. They decided they wanted to seek a second opinion before they would accept that amputation was the only solution.
Searching for an alternative to amputation
At almost 4 a.m. Nicole received a message from someone in her church about a story that involved the OrthoIndy Trauma Team and another little boy that had a similar experience with a lawnmower and near amputation. After reading the story, Nicole decided to research OrthoIndy.
“My eyes were swollen from crying; I was lifelessly exhausted. I read several profiles and then found one about Dr. Timothy Weber. Everything I read was exactly what I was looking for. I had made my decision,” said Nicole.
Prepared to travel the country in hopes of finding a solution for Kelden, their first stop was OrthoIndy Trauma at St.Vincent Level I Trauma Center to see OrthoIndy Trauma surgeon, Dr. Timothy Weber.
Dr. Weber determined he would need to do his own assessment of Kelden’s injury before deciding the best course of treatment and Kelden went off to surgery again. A couple hours later, Dr. Weber informed the Crouch’s that Kelden did not need an amputation after all.
“The feelings that went through my body are indescribable. It was like an adrenaline rush and a sense of peace I had never felt before.”
Kelden had a typical lawnmower injury in which there was extensive open fractures and soft tissue loss.
“The key to assessing these injuries is to determine what is still viable and if it will allow the individual good function once it is healed,” said Dr. Weber. “With Kelden, I felt that one of his toes would not be viable and therefore we narrowed the foot some and used what was amputated to reconstruct the rest of the missing parts of his foot. Later, we transferred a tendon to substitute for a tendon that was damaged and missing.”
Fortunately, because Matt and Nicole are self-employed, with the help of family and friends, they were able to put their life on pause to take care of Kelden.
Lawn mower accident recovery
Initially, Kelden was unable to walk. He crawled around to play or was carried when he was tired. He had countless medical appointments and regularly visited Dr. Weber. Slowly, he returned to his normal life where he attended preschool and was reunited with his friends.
“Dr. Weber has been such a blessing to our family. He didn’t treat us or our son like just another patient, he treated us like we were his own children. The love he shows our son is indescribable.”
Now, Kelden is 5-years-old. He loves to run, jump, swim, play and do just about anything a normal boy loves. This past summer, the Crouch’s went to Mexico where they were able to relax and make fun new memories as a family.
“Let’s be honest, no one really likes going to the doctor, but a visit to OrthoIndy isn’t just a regular doctor visit,” said Nicole. “We’ve been welcomed with open arms and actually look forward to going to our appointments there. Because our son will need orthopedic care for a very long time, we’re so thankful to have found an office to treat us like family. I cannot say enough positive things about OrthoIndy and Dr. Weber.”
Dr. Weber looks forward to visiting with Kelden and his parents as well.
“Taking care of Kelden and his family has been a real privilege, he is a great youngster who has done everything we have asked him. His parents have been super strong and supportive throughout the entire journey and it has been heartwarming to watch,” said Dr. Weber. “I look forward to when they come in for their appointments as it gives me a chance to race Kelden up and down the clinic hallway.”
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Weber please call 317.917.4369 or learn more about OrthoIndy Trauma.