A North Island man found trapped underneath an ATV on a remote logging road surpassed all medical expectations, coming out of a medically induced coma and ready to begin rehabilitative treatment.
Three weeks ago, Marilyn and Craig Horsley packed their bags, got in a car with a friend and drove 17.5 hours to Victoria from Alberta. Since then, they’ve spent countless hours at Victoria General Hospital at the bedside of their son, Andrew.
The 41-year-old father of three was airlifted to Victoria General Hospital after being discovered on a Port Alice back road.
“He was breathing on his own at that time but he had been outside in the elements on a logging road … for at least five to seven days they’re saying,” Marilyn said. “He was a bloody mess.”
The man who found Andrew, Port McNeill Fire Chief Dean Tait, told Marilyn he just had an urge to drive down the road where he found Andrew bloodied and pinned under his ATV. Tait assumed Andrew was dead.
Tait notified the police and a search and rescue team went out to find Andrew who was breathing but unconscious. By the time Andrew arrived in Victoria, he wasn’t breathing on his own and was on life support.
“The doctors just shook their heads and said ‘we’ve never seen a case this bad before’ and they didn’t expect him to recover,” Marilyn said.
Against all odds, Andrew is recovering. He was taken out of a medically induced coma last week and through squeezes of the hand, eye movement and smiles is communicating with his family and friends. Andrew is responsive, making an attempt to mouth words and smiling at photos and videos of his children.
“The only explanation that we can think of is that God didn’t want him to die … God wanted him to have a purpose and a destiny and keep on living,” Marilyn said. “He’s surpassed all the expectations [the doctors] had … but our son has a will to live and he keeps fighting … for his family I think.”
Up until recently, Andrew was on kidney dialysis and life support. He had blood clots and his left leg was amputated at the knee. At one point Andrew coughed causing complications which led to doctors finding a blood clot in his lungs and performing emergency surgery.
Despite all that, he continues to fight.
He has one major surgery left – a skin graft to cover a large wound on his shoulder – and is getting to the point where doctors can start rehabilitating him through different exercises.
He’s been able to sit up in a wheelchair, and was even taken outside for 10 minutes to enjoy the sunshine.
Andrew has had visits from close friends up Island as well as his three children, who currently reside with their mother.
But his father, Craig, has pointed out that while the family has a lot of hope there are still many unknowns and they’re not sure what life will look like for Andrew in the end.
“We’re not quite sure what he knows in his mind he could be five years old or he could be 41 again,” Craig said. “He could come back, maybe not.”
Andrew’s parents plan on staying by his side for as long as necessary but are running out of resources. The couple, both pensioners, are from the Village of Veteran, with a population of a few hundred. Being in Victoria has been a major adjustment for them and has been expensive.
“I guess we’re asking for help,” Marilyn said, noting that she and her husband are happy for anything from donations or meals to a place to stay near the hospital. Marilyn said two GoFundMe pages were set up for the family but were reported as fraudulent and removed from the site, so they haven’t been able to receive any funds through them.
Craig and Marilyn are grateful for the support they’ve received from friends, family and the doctors and staff at the hospital. They’re especially grateful to Tait, who saved their son’s life.
“My heart goes out to him because he obeyed the urge to go back and see what was down that road,” Marilyn said. “Or Andrew would have just died out there.”
Anyone looking to help the Horsley’s can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.