Noah Venesile: “Nothing Short of Amazing”
Election Day 2012 won’t be forgotten in Avon Lake, Ohio anytime soon. The polls were open and since local schools served as voting sites, many kids in this quiet community were thrilled to enjoy a day off school. It was a beautiful fall day with blue skies, and just the right temperature to be playing outside. Unfortunately, this day turned tragic for 9-year-old Noah Venesile. While playing in the yard with neighborhood kids, Noah was focused on chasing a ball and didn’t notice an approaching car. He darted into the street and was struck by the vehicle.
The accident scene was in close proximity to the fire station; therefore, Metro Life Flight was instructed to land at the station, which is a pre-designated landing zone.
Scenes with children are often difficult for all involved; however, the crews worked diligently to provide the best care for Noah. “Overall, the scene was calm and we all stayed focused on our patient and the necessary next steps”, said Lt. John Rogers, of Avon Lake Fire.
Noah was found with potentially serious life threatening injuries; combative with a high pitched shrill like cry indicating a traumatic brain injury and it was clear he needed transport to a trauma center. Acute Care Flight Nurse Practitioner Andrea Adoni and Flight Nurse Specialist John Singleton recognized the need for a rapid sequence intubation in order to protect his airway during transport. This was accomplished by the Life Flight medical crew, and together with the Avon Lake medics, Noah was prepped for his flight to MetroHealth Medical Center.
During the short transport to the Pediatric Trauma Center at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio Noah received aggressive sedation and pain management. Noah’s mother, Amy, was present throughout the transport.
John Singleton upon learning Noah’s last name immediately realized he was the son of Chris Venesile, who was a local high school teacher and whom he had worked with extensively 7 years earlier. Chris and Amy’s presence in the trauma room as he gave report was challenging to give the critical information to the team while not frightening them any further. Treating the child of a friend with critical injuries is the nightmare all pre-hospital providers hope to avoid.
Noah was evaluated by the trauma team and after a CT examination of his head was found to have a diffuse axonal injury, multiple facial fractures and a small epidural hematoma in addition to some minor orthopedic injuries. He was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where he later had an intracranial pressure bolt placed due to elevated intracranial pressure. His hospital stay lasted several weeks before transfer to a pediatric rehabilitation facility. Severe diffuse axonal injuries often carry a poor prognosis that ranges from long lasting neurologic impairment to coma.
On February 6, just three months after the accident, Noah made a visit to the Avon Lake Fire Station and personally thanked those that helped save his life. His progress to that point is nothing short of amazing!
Now Noah is back in school and enjoying the fourth grade. His activities include piano, flag football and choir. Noah is also doing very well in an accelerated math program. According to Dr. Elie Rizkala, a MetroHealth pediatric neurologist, “Noah experienced a remarkable recovery and is overall back to his baseline.” Noah still faces some hurdles, though miraculously he is a happy, healthy 10-year-old who eagerly entertains his family and anyone else who wants to experience his exuberant hip-hop dancing.
“I now realize that what really made the difference in Noah’s prognosis was the quick response by the Avon Lake paramedics and the Metro Life Flight team. There truly is the “golden hour” of a window for an intervention to contain the damage and support and stabilize the patient. I would hate to think where we’d be without Life Flight. Special thanks to John Singleton, who I’ve known for over a decade. He is truly a life saver and deserves a lot of credit as the leader of the team.”
— Chris Venesile, Noah’s Father.