When play turned to panic . . .


What started as a typical summer play day in Paso Robles quickly turned to panic when then 7-year-old Dominic lost his balance on a trampoline and fell onto concrete, hitting his head.


Dominic’s family rushed him to a nearby emergency department where the frightened boy told his grandmother, Elena Chavez, that his head hurt so much it felt like it was burning.


“His eyes looked strange, and I knew that something was very, very wrong,” she said.


Emergency room caregivers took a CT scan and contacted Dr. Richard Lehman, director of pediatric transport services for Cottage Children’s Hospital.


Dr. Lehman recognized that Dominic’s injury was life-threatening and arranged to have Dominic transported by helicopter to Cottage where a team of trauma experts performed an emergency craniotomy to drain the blood that was seeping into the boy’s brain.


The surgery took hours, but when it was over Dominic’s family was assured that he would recover. Within a day his breathing tube was removed and within five days he was ready to go home.


“It’s a miracle” said grandmother Elena. “I don’t think my lifetime would be enough time to say how thankful I am to everyone for saving his life.”

Please make a generous gift today and help us provide life-saving care to children like Dominic.


Gifts made in honor of a child treated at Cottage, a child or adult who was born in our hospital or a caregiver who holds a special place in your heart will be recognized in a special display in the Santa Barbara News-Press and on the Cottage Children’s Hospital Facebook page if received in our office by May 30.

Dominic's story >>