Two students have begun the long, uncertain road to recovery following traumatic injuries sustained during a pedestrian versus car collision.
According to a press release from the Siloam Springs Police Department, at 6:15 p.m. last Friday junior Dahye Kim and sophomore Eunbit Oh were crossing the 45 mph traffic on the Highway 412 to get to Siloam 6 Theater on Carl St. when a westbound Nissan SUV driven by Jodie Barton of Watts, Okla., struck both Korean students. One was knocked into the center lane while the other landed in the eastbound traffic where she was hit by a Saturn passenger car driven by David Fishinghawk of Locust Grove, Okla.
Both drivers attempted to avoid the pedestrians and stopped to assist until emergency responders arrived. Currently, no one is being charged, the release said.
According to Steve Beers, vice president of student development, answers about injuries and recovery are going to take time as doctors treat and assess the students over the next few days.
Kim is currently in a medically induced coma as doctors wait to assess her. After the accident she was transferred to a Tulsa hospital with an Intensive Care Unit specializing in neurological trauma. She underwent surgery last Saturday to relieve brain swelling, which remains the doctors’ biggest concern. Beers said the doctors seemed pleased with the surgery’s immediate results but explained that they must wait until Kim’s swelling has gone down and she no longer has to be under sedation. Then they can safely and fully assess her.
According to the University, medication seems to be keeping the swelling stable. Doctors say they hope the “peak” swelling is over and if it remains stable over the next few days, they could possibly begin to bring her out of sedation.
Oh, who has a fractured pelvis, is conscious and communicating which is “amazing and astounding,” said Beers. Dean of Students Andre Broquard passed along this message from Oh: “Thank you for all your prayers, they really mean a lot.” Oh began therapy with an occupational therapist on Wednesday. It is not known how long the therapy will take but Beers said it could be weeks or months.
Both the student’s families have been notified and Kim’s family arrived in Siloam Springs. Local Korean churches helped with translating English and Korean.
Students in the Cathedral, classrooms and across campus have been gathering all week to pray for Kim and Oh and have sent hundreds of colorful cards to brighten up their hospital rooms.
Senior Kelly Wan, who visited Kim and Oh, feels blessed by her two friends and said her heart breaks knowing they are in pain.
Wan saw an unconscious Kim on Sunday.
Wan said “I told her, ‘you’re still the pretty Dayhe I know.” Kim couldn’t respond, but Wan felt her trying to.
“That’s the hardest part, her not being able to talk,” said Wan.
Wan visited a groggy but conscious Oh early Saturday morning in the Emergency room on the night of the incident. Oh was in good spirits, resting a lot and watching cartoons. Wan said Oh is eager to get well and back to school.
Beers and Wan both urged students who are concerned to pray for Oh and Dayhe; their families; the school and the drivers of the vehicles.
“It sounds trite but it is powerful: pray,” said Beers.
Doctors ask that students refrain from trying to visit either patient and allow them to rest and recover.
They also encouraged students to continue sending cards with loving words which Beers and Wan said mean a great deal to the injured students and to their families.
Cards to be delivered are being collected at Student Development offices. For official University updates on Kim and Oh, go to http://www.jbu.edu/news/student_care_update. To help with immediate financial needs of a student emergency, give to JBU Student Medical Assistance Fund at www.jbu.edu/giving or at any Arvest Bank.