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November 3, 2016     Tri-County News
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PAGE 7 ..... .......... www.tricountynews.mn November 3, 2016 Ironic anniversary Two-year-old Bentley "Boo" Gohman before he fell through a spiral staircase and required a craniectomy. By Jean Doran Matua, Editor This week marks the 29th anni- versary of the accidental death of Kathleen (better known as Katie) Gohman. This was another trag- edy that has indelibly marked Kimball's history. Katie and two of her chil- dren were returning from St. Cloud, on Highway 15, after buying Halloween costumes. Near Luxemburg, they came upon a minor accident; one car hit another that was trying to make a left turn. No police or anyone else was on the scene, and Katie was a volun- teer first-responder. She stopped to make sure everyone was okay, then returned to her car to radio her parents to call the police. Then she went back to the cars to see if she could help. She was leaning into the car when a third car hit it from behind; the impact threw her across the road. She landed on her head and suffered such trauma that she could not recover. Katie was taken off life support and she died on Halloween day. The surgery that saved Bentley's life was known back then; it was first documented in 1905. But it wasn't until after mili- tary experience with head trauma, in the Middle East especially, that decompressive craniectomy sur- gery was routinely and success- fully performed to relieve pressure on the brain. Fast-forward nearly 29 years and Katie's grandson Bentley would suffer the same kind of injury, but with different results. Two-year-old Bentley was vis- iting his grandparents in Fergus Falls in July this year, with his family. Little Bentley was at the top of the spiral staircase with his dad Daniel that first night there. Bentley took a step or two and fell through the spindles on the stair- case; he fell about 10 feet to the tile floor below, landing on his head. Bentley immediately started wail- ing, and Daniel flew down the stairs in just a few bounds. Daniel is an EMT and he picked up his screaming son. He instinc- tively checked him for broken bones, and noticed that his pupils were not responding. Bentley had a bump and bruise on his head, and his mouth was bleeding from biting his tongue. "When he started throwing up," Daniel told the Clearwater Citizen-Tribune recently, "I knew we had to get him to the hospital right away." The family got Bentley to the Fergus Falls emergency room where a CT scan showed a skull fracture and pressure on the brain. They ordered a helicopter to take him to the hospital in Fargo, but there was a terrible rain storm moving through. Soon the 'copter had to set down, short of their tar- get; they made it as far as Hawley. Bentley was there loaded into an ambulance and driven to Fargo. It took about five or six hours from Bentley's fall until he was in surgery at the hospital in Fargo. "That was pretty fast, but it felt like forever," Daniel says. Doctors were not optimistic about Bentley's survival, his inju- ries were so severe. This time, unlike in Katie's case, the surgery to remove a part of his skull and to relieve the pressure on his brain was successful. (A month and a half later, that portion of his cra- nium would be replaced and fused with the rest of his skull. He wore a helmet for a month to protect his brain.) It would take 80 stitches to close the wound, and Bentley would be unconscious for two days as his family and doctors waited to see if he would wake up and, if so, if he would be functional. Then he opened his eyes and said "Mama" when he saw his mother Allie. Doctors later told Daniel and Allie that they'd never seen a head injury this bad where the child actually survived. Daniel Gohman and wife Allie with their three sons Bentley, Kaleb and Brayden. The family lives in Becker. Photo courtesy of the Clearwater Citizen-Tribune. Bentley had his three-month checkup Oct. 11, back at the hos- pital in Fargo, and he's doing well. He was terrified of the MRI. There is still fluid on his brain, but it doesn't seem to be causing prob- lems right now. He and his fam- ily live in Becker, so this was a long trip there and back. At his six-month check, they'll begin to assess Bentley for defi- cits. It may take that long for prob- lems to show up, or not. They'll continue to monitor him each year, just to make sure there are no aftereffects. A GoFundMe.com page was set up to help with mounting medi- cal bills. You can follow Bentley's progress on CaringBridge.com as well. The Gohman family has received a lot of help, from their church, friends, family, and the community. Grandpa Steve is relieved and grateful that medicine was able to help his grandson "Bentley Boo." The coincidence of the tim- ing is not lost on the Gohman fam- ily either: Bentley has passed his three-month check just in time for the anniversary of his grandma Katie's untimely death from the same kind of injury. "We're really working our guardian angel hard this sum- mer," Steve joked, referring to Katie. Earlier this year, Steve and Katie's daughter Sarah had her second kidney transplant, this time a liver-kidney transplant, and this time it "took." Sarah is now off dialysis completely, and she's happy and back at work. Their grandson Bentley is not yet out of the woods. He'll be checked for the rest of his life for any residual effects. Meanwhile, Bentley is busy being a two-year-old. He has occu- pational therapy for some sen- sory issues, but otherwise he won't need to go back to Fargo until ]anuary. 3 Annual ARobinson Wood Products Clinically Insane Crafters 8-5:30 MONDAY-SATURDAY 8:30-NOON SUNDAY om ,ou. 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