Overland Park, KS  —Just prior to Thanksgiving, Lee’s Summit parents, Liz and Allen Morrow, reunited with Overland Park Regional Medical Center physicians and caregivers, including pediatric nurse, Taylor and environmental services technician, Justus thanking them for saving their son’s leg following a freak tubing accident on August 16, 2022.  While their family was enjoying a day of boating at Raintree Lake their son, Mason, went under water prior to tubing over a wake when his leg became entangled with the rope, slicing skin and immediately injuring tissue and blood vessels, preventing the 12-year-old to swim for help. 

A harrowing accident on the lake

Trained as an emergency medicine PA (physician assistant), Liz had the boat immediately circle back to Mason as he screamed, “I can’t feel my leg! I can’t swim!” Liz was able to pull Mason to the boat, as she recognized blood coming from his swim trunks.  She evaluated the wound, placed pressure on it to prevent more bleeding and called 9-1-1. The youngster was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

Following a long and complicated ER visit, Allen — trained as an operating room assistant — says he and Liz “still felt something was amiss with Mason’s care. We reached out to healthcare colleagues for advice.” 

Still not satisfied with the treatment, and with significant concerns about Mason’s leg, the parents followed advice, and immediately took their son to Overland Park Regional Medical Center’s Pediatric Emergency Room for a second opinion. 

Taking action to save a life and a leg

Adam Kaye, MD, Overland Park Regional Medical Center trauma surgeon, and Alison Kaye, MD, OPRMC pediatric plastic surgeon, were waiting for the injured youngster. Following evaluation of Mason’s injuries, they knew they had to operate immediately to prevent any infection and save his leg. 

“Mason’s upper leg was basically crushed by a fast-moving rope that was pulling the tube. The injury in his upper leg was right next to the major vessels of the leg and severed multiple muscles in his upper leg,” Adam Kaye says. “On evaluation we saw a degloving injury, where the muscle is sheared off the leg. That injury, combined with the contaminating lake water, made the treatment an emergency surgery to prevent complications like infections, extensive skin necrosis and to save his leg. He was minutes away from losing precious tissue.”

“The advocacy of Mason’s parents is a key factor that saved his leg,” says Alison Kaye. “They were unsure of the care he was given and did not stop until they found a physician who would listen to them and provide the immediate and needed assessment of his leg. There’s no question that because of Liz’s quick actions at the lake and their persistent patient advocacy, Mason has gone on to lead an active life — one that would not have been possible without his parents and the specialized pediatric care team at Overland Park Regional Medical Center.” 

Giving thanks for caring like family

“Liz and I knew that Overland Park Regional Medical Center had a great reputation, but what we have since learned is that the entire hospital staff — from physicians to nurses and the environmental services — treated Mason as if they were caring for their own family,” says Allen. “We were finally able to ‘just be parents’ and not caregivers once we arrived.  We are forever grateful for their expert care and emotional support. The outcome of this injury could have been very different if not for this hospital. Thanking them in person, and showing how far Mason has come since his accident was such a joy and really meaningful for Mason.” 

“Bringing together Mason and his family and the physicians and care team provided us all an opportunity for a measure of healing and gratitude during this special time of year,” says Overland Park Regional Medical Center CEO Matt Sogard, FACHE. “The event was particularly poignant with the patient’s parents being recognized for heroic actions and our emergency, surgery and trauma team physicians, nurses and staff immediately collaborating to save Mason’s leg and life.” 

The physicians surprised both Liz and Allen by presenting them with special challenge coins for their life-saving advocacy and commitment to their son, Mason.  

Overland Park Regional Medical Center — home to a Pediatric Emergency Room, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and a Level II Trauma Center — is part of HCA Midwest Health, Kansas City’s the region’s largest healthcare provider, delivering more babies than any other health system.