A 6-year-old girl who lost a chunk of her leg when she was run over by a John Deere lawn tractor might someday be able to walk again after undergoing a rare surgery to prepare her for a prosthetic lower leg.
Isabella Smith, who goes by the name Izzy, knew better than to go near the mower her grandfather was using on his Richmond property. But on May 1 she decided to look for flowers and somehow got beyond a creek where John Williams, a farmer, was mowing and he backed over her leg.
Williams told his wife that he was able to keep it together emotionally after seeing Izzy's mangled leg because the girl was so strong. She whimpered a little, he said, but she didn't cry.
"She stayed so calm because he was able to take off his belt and tourniquet it," Stephanie Williams said about her daughter.
Izzy has spent a little more than two weeks in the pediatric intensive care unit at University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, KS. She has had seven surgeries since arriving by helicopter ambulance with massive injuries to the bone and muscle of her left leg.
"Everything just hurt," Izzy told KCTV5 on Monday. "I was really scared."
One of those surgeries was a rare procedure called rotationplasty, an eight-hour endeavor in which doctors removed sections of the thigh and shin, rotated her foot and attached the shin to her thigh so her heel is where her kneecap used to be. That will give her the best fit for a prosthetic leg, with her ankle serving as her knee joint.
"I was supposed to be strong for her, but it was the other way around," Stephanie Williams said. "I've gone through every emotion, and the one thing I've learned is that crying doesn't help. I'm trying to be like her."
Izzy will be fitted for a prosthetic lower leg when her bones heal. This will likely occur in about eight weeks.
The brave little girl was quite willing to tell her story Monday while she recovers at the hospital. She also confidently plans to show off her new leg when she leaves the hospital, possibly as soon as the end of the week.
"I'll show them to prove that I have a short leg," she said.
Her doctors say her optimism and unfailing spirits are key to her recovery.
Izzy is grateful to everyone who has supported her.
"The people that are saying prayers about me, I feel really good about them. I appreciate it," she said.
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