British gap year student gored by 2,000lb bison and tossed in the air has had surgery back in the UK
A British gap-year student who was paralyzed in the United States after a 2,000lb bison gored her and tossed her 15ft in the air has had surgery in Britain, but faces a long road back to health, her family have announced.
Amelia Dean – known as Mia – was traveling in South Dakota when the beast tore the femoral artery in her left thigh during the shocking attack on June 16.
Surgeons in Rapid City were able to save her life and her leg by performing a bypass of the damaged artery.
Mia Dean is pictured in a hospital bed after being left paralyzed when a 2,000lb bison gored her and tossed her 15ft in the air
Mia Dean, 19, was attacked by a large male American bison while hiking with a friend through Custer State Park, South Dakota in June 2022. Mia is pictured setting off on her travels
While Mia, 19, was fighting for her life, her parents, Matthew and Jacqueline Dean launched a GoFundMe to raise £140,000 to transfer their daughter to the pioneering Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for specialist treatment.
But they were forced to change their plans and fly her back to the UK when insurers threatened to withdraw funding unless they took up the option of a med-evac flight home as soon as she was stabilised.
So Mia, a keen dancer who had hoped to begin a course at Edinburgh University last month, was brought home to Brockham, Surrey, in late August and has received treatment at the Royal National Orthopedic Hospital in London under the care of a peripheral nerve specialist .
Now an exploratory operation has found that Mia’s tibial nerve at the back of her calf was severed and will take at least a year to grow back fully following a graft and there was also extensive damage to parts of the perineal nerve.
One ray of hope is that Mia can now move her toes a little.
Today, in an update on the GoFundMe page, the family told their supporters: ‘Mia has had the surgery during which it was discovered that the tibial nerve was completely severed with severe scarring, and the perineal nerve was partially trisected, crushed, and compressed. into scar tissue.
‘The surgeon completed a graft on the tibial nerve using a harvested nerve from Mia’s left calf, and removed the perineal nerve from the scar tissue, giving it room to decompress, and sewing and gluing the damaged outer casing.
Mia came face-to-face with the bison on a walking trail in Custer State Park on the second day of her road trip with a friend in June 2021.
Her family posted pictures of Mia to the GoFundMe page. Her parents said she is lucky to be alive after the incident
‘After the tibial graft has been accepted, the nerve will have to grow down, about an inch a month, meaning we’re unlikely to see any physical results until about 7 months after the operation and won’t know how successful it’s been until about 12 months. Also, some places in the perineal nerve, where the nerve strands were cut or crushed beyond repair it will also need to regrow.
‘Mia is recovering from the operation and will hopefully be beginning physical therapy shortly.
‘We are already seeing some progress in decompressing the perineal nerve, Mia is able to lightly lift her toes, and physical therapy should help improve this movement and more.
‘Mia is also still suffering from extensive nerve pain, and general weakness in the left leg. We are unsure if the surgery will be fully successful, and we are now looking into physical therapy, electrolysis, counseling and a brace for her leg, and will keep you updated.
‘As always, we cannot thank you enough for your support! Love from Mia, Jacqueline and Matthew.
The bison surged its horn into her thigh and launched her 15ft into the air. The horn puncture was so severe that it went straight through her thigh and came out the other end. She is pictured receiving medical attention
Her wound was gushing with blood with an injury that usually kills within two and eight minutes, leading her parents to say she is lucky to be alive
Mia came face-to-face with the bison on a walking trail in Custer State Park on the second day of her road trip with a friend in June.
As the pair headed along the picturesque route with a dog, they noticed the large male bison blocking their path.
They skirted around the beast while it grazed.
It initially seemed unfazed by the walkers before it stopped grazing to examine them. Suddenly, it charged at a terrified Mia.
She was ‘shocked into stillness’ before the beast surged its horn into her thigh and launched her 15ft into the air.
The horn puncture was so severe that it went straight through her thigh and ‘came out the other end’.
Mia was then left battered and in agonizing pain on the ground while the bison towered over her – one of 1,500 in the reserve – and stood directly next to her head before her friend bravely led it away and called for help.
Her wound was gushing with blood with an injury that usually kills within two and eight minutes, leading her parents to say she is lucky to be alive.
The family posted pictures of Mia on the GoFundMe page. Mia is pictured (middle row left) about to perform in Phantom Of The Opera.
A GoFundMe page has been launched to raise £140,000 to transfer Mia to the pioneering Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for specialist treatment.
The horrifying ordeal only came to an end when Mia’s brave friend led the beast away and called for help.
Her parents said at the time: ‘We are beyond fortunate that our daughter is still breathing, as she should have bled out in two to eight minutes after the severed artery and the ambulance didn’t arrive for 20 minutes.
‘It is a miracle that she is alive today. We believe that God put a veil of protection over Mia.’
Speaking from her hospital bed, she told KOTA TV back in August: ‘I remember feeling the pressure on my hip, my hip being pushed back and I remember the sensation of flying in the air and going head over heels.
‘It’s a surreal enough experience let alone the fact that we weren’t doing anything that really warranted it. We were just having a walk in the park.’
‘It’s a miracle I even lived until the ambulance got there, let alone kept my life and my leg.