Cristian Cruz nearly had to get his leg amputated after a UTV fell on top of it. Doctors saved his leg with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. BAY CITY, Texas — A 12-year-old boy from Bay City nearly lost his ability to walk after a devastating accident last May. Cristian Cruz had a UTV, which is like.
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Cristian Cruz nearly had to get his leg amputated after a UTV fell on top of it. Doctors saved his leg with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
BAY CITY, Texas — A 12-year-old boy from Bay City nearly lost his ability to walk after a devastating accident last May.
Cristian Cruz had a UTV, which is like an ATV but only bigger, fall on top of his leg. He nearly had to have it amputated.
“He and his friend were on the ranger as they’ve been on many times and all of a sudden, my husband got a phone call that said the ranger flipped over,” Belma, Cristian’s mom said.
“My leg got caught in the net and it ended up under it and it just fell on top,” Cristian said. “I just remembered when he lifted it up and how my leg looked.”
It was bad.
“Of course, his bone was sticking straight up, but a large portion of his skin and muscle was not attached to it,” Belma said.
Belma had to hold his leg together until the ambulance arrived.
At Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, doctors tried to salvage what they could. Dr. Surya Mundluru, UTHealth pediatric orthopedic surgeon, and Dr. Wendy Chen, UTHealth pediatric plastic surgeon, were both heavily involved with Cristian’s care.
“He said that there was a very high possibility that he would lose his leg,” Belma said.
After a number of surgeries with the comprehensive care team, doctors also tried something else — a hyperbaric chamber. It combines a pressurized cabin, like an airplane, with the inhalation of 100% oxygen.
“That oxygen dissolves into your tissues and into your bloodstream so it achieves super high levels of oxygen that you don’t even need your red blood cells,” Dr. Joseph Nevarez, Medical Director of the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine, Wound and Lymphedema Care at Memorial Hermann and UTHealth, said. “And then that stimulates your body to do lots of things at the molecular and the physiological level.”
Cristian did 20, 90-minute sessions inside the chamber, preventing infection while healing his tissue.
“It was just like giving air to my leg, like circulation, sort of,” he said.
Doctors said that chamber helped save his leg.
“I haven’t stopped running since he told me I was able to start running,” Cristian said. “I didn’t think I’d be doing all the stuff I can today.”
He’s letting nothing slow him down.
“Just never give up and keep going at it,” Cristian said.