Caitlin Jensen’s back was sore. Then her heart stopped.
The Georgia Southern University freshman had just graduated, with her eyes on the future and all its possibilities, when she decided to start her first summer away from the shackles of school by adjusting her back.
On June 16, she visited a chiropractor and booked a basic adjustment. They straightened her neck, and soon after Jensen began to feel ill.
Her condition rapidly deteriorated – enough to notify those around her and prompt her to call 911.
Ms Jensen was taken to hospital, where doctors found that her neck modification had dissected four arteries.
When the arteries are dissected, blood can pool near the tears and form hematomas. These hematomas can block more blood flow, leading to cardiac arrest and possibly death.
Ms. Jensen has suffered a heart attack and a stroke. Her heart stopped beating, leaving her on the brink of death for nearly 10 minutes before she could be resuscitated.
Doctors stabilized the college student and then pushed her into surgery. They were able to bring her back from the brink before surgeons worked to repair the severed arteries, plug the tears and suck the fluid that had accumulated in Ms Jensen’s neck. One of the arteries is fitted with a stent to prevent it from collapsing back on itself.
Since the procedure, Ms. Jensen has been recovering in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit at Memorial Hospital in Savannah, Georgia. Her family shared her story on GoFundMe She hopes to raise money for her health care.
Although Ms. Jensen survived her cardiac arrest for about 10 minutes, that long time without blood being pumped to the brain could cause catastrophic organ damage. Much of her body is paralyzed, though she is awake and has responded to verbal commands by shaking her toes and winking her eyes.
Jensen’s mother, Darlene, has been documenting her daughter’s recovery on GoFundMe and on Facebook. On Saturday, she said her daughter managed to make her smile.
She wrote, “She did her best to smile today, and it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” “Her face hasn’t moved much yet, but she can open her eyes wide to show astonishment, and the left corner of her mouth is trying to smile. Lovely.”
Jensen’s mother said her left side movement – mostly shaking and bending – is progressing, but her right side has shown no improvement since her injury.