A North Idaho woman’s drive along the Lochsa River earlier this month turned into a nightmare after she was impaled through her neck by a tree limb.
Twenty-year-old Michelle Childers and her husband, 22-year-old Daniel Childers, were taking a recreational drive along the Lochsa River on September 5.
Michelle remembers sitting in the passenger seat of the couple’s truck turned toward her husband. She says she was talking, laughing and just enjoying “the beautiful day it was turning out to be.”Michelle says she doesn’t exactly know what happened next, but somehow a limb from a spruce tree came through the passenger window and impaled her neck.
She could feel a “strange” pressure on her neck and shoulder as her husband started to panic.
“I asked him ‘what? where is it?,’” said Michelle.
Her husband answered, “it’s in your neck.”
Michelle remembers “thinking, praying and hoping” for a miracle as her husband tried to drive to get her medical attention.
About an hour after the limb went into her neck, the couple finally arrived at Lochsa Lodge near the Idaho/Montana border.
Daniel ran inside where he asked to use the phone. Before he could even get back to the truck, Michelle heard the words “we have a nurse.”
x-ray showing how deep the tree branch penetrated
Michelle says the woman, Kelly, a nurse practitioner from Spokane was able to get a ‘life flight’ helicopter and ambulance headed to the lodge.
That’s when Paula, a registered nurse from St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, along with her husband started talking to Michelle attempting to calm her down.
“Something about this amazing couple made me feel like I was really going to be ok. I believed her when she said you’re going to be just fine,” said Michelle. “So here I am sitting in a pick-up with all these wonderful people around me and a 13-inch Spruce limb with branches coming off it in still in my neck.”
The ‘life flight’ helicopter arrived on scene and after the flight to St. Patrick Hospital, Michelle went into surgery for six hours to remove the limb from her neck.
Michelle says the doctor’s did an amazing job and she is currently recovering at home.