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Student, 22, tells how her seat belt cut through her stomach ‘like a SWORD’

A student has told how her seat belt cut through her stomach ‘like a sword’ after being involved in a horrific car accident.

Gina Arnold, of Michigan, lost control of her car causing the vehicle to flip seven times before hitting a tree in October 2017.

She claims she was ‘almost split in half’ by the force of her belt pulling her back, which left her with a torn abdominal wall.

The 22-year-old, who doesn’t remember the ordeal, was left in a coma and spent three months in hospital.

She considers herself lucky to still be alive, but isn’t fully recovered – doctors have warned she won’t ever be able to jump again.  

Gina Arnold, of Michigan, lost control of her car causing the vehicle to flip seven times before hitting a tree in October 2017 (pictured recently) 

She claims she was 'almost split in half' by the force of her belt pulling her back, which left her with a torn abdominal wall (pictured in hospital)

She claims she was ‘almost split in half’ by the force of her belt pulling her back, which left her with a torn abdominal wall (pictured in hospital)

Recalling her injury and her conversation with surgeons, she said: ‘They described my abdominal wall being cut like a sword by the seat belt.

‘Even though it [the seat belt] did save my life, it caused many life-threatening injuries and tore my whole abdominal wall right in half.’

She claims doctors said there was no ‘specific name’ for her injury, and they classed her as having one giant hernia.

The NHS states a hernia occurs when an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding tissue wall.

A major symptom is abdominal swelling – a symptom which Miss Arnold endured.

Miss Arnold added: ‘I don’t remember what happened, I just know people told me it was raining – I lost control and over-corrected.

‘The person behind me said my car flipped seven times and hit a tree. I remember nothing of that day and ended up in a coma for three days.

The 22-year-old, who doesn't remember the ordeal, was left in a coma and spent three months in hospital (pictured, her in hospital)

The 22-year-old, who doesn’t remember the ordeal, was left in a coma and spent three months in hospital (pictured, her in hospital)

She considers herself lucky to still be alive, but isn't fully recovered - doctors have warned she won't ever be able to jump again

She considers herself lucky to still be alive, but isn’t fully recovered – doctors have warned she won’t ever be able to jump again

‘Both lungs collapsed and my whole body was so swollen they couldn’t see for weeks what kind of broken bones I had.

‘I had multiple emergency surgeries to stabilise me – they had to remove part of my small intestine and part of my ileum.’ 

She spent three months in a Beaumont Hospital, with most of that being in the intensive care unit.

Miss Arnold needed 20 abdominal surgeries to repair some of the damage – but it was more than a year before her tear was fixed.

She said: ‘The pain was the worst pain I have ever felt – I basically had to learn to walk again which wasn’t guaranteed in the recovery.’

Miss Arnold, who studies sports psychology at Michigan University, added: ‘They even told me I might never leave a hospital setting or live a good quality of life.’ 

In an attempt to repair her abdominal wall, surgeons attempted to relax the broken muscle with Botox – but that failed multiple times. 

She said: ‘When I got out of the hospital I was nowhere near close to recovery and I had no abdominal wall, no mesh, no nothing. 

Miss Arnold needed 20 abdominal surgeries to repair some of the damage - but it was more than a year before her tear was fixed (pictured, her scar)

Miss Arnold needed 20 abdominal surgeries to repair some of the damage – but it was more than a year before her tear was fixed (pictured, her scar)

She said it took doctors so long to agree on a procedure because 'there hasn't been a case like that they knew of in America' (pictured, her swollen stomach)

She said it took doctors so long to agree on a procedure because ‘there hasn’t been a case like that they knew of in America’ (pictured, her swollen stomach)

She said: 'Many surgeons thought I would never live a normal quality of life again so I've surprised a lot of them' (pictured before the crash)

She said: ‘Many surgeons thought I would never live a normal quality of life again so I’ve surprised a lot of them’ (pictured before the crash)

WAS THIS A HERNIA? 

Miss Arnold claims doctors said there was no ‘specific name’ for her injury, and they classed her as having one giant hernia.

The NHS states a hernia occurs when an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding tissue wall.

A major symptom of a hernia, of which there are many types, is abdominal swelling – a symptom which Miss Arnold endured.

Miss Arnold needed 20 abdominal surgeries to repair some of the damage – but it was more than a year before her tear was fixed. 

Fourteen months after the accident, Miss Arnold finally underwent an eight-hour procedure to repair her torn abdominal wall.  

Her surgeon warned her it was an ‘extremely risky’ procedure, and admitted it was the first time they had done ‘something like this’.

She said it took doctors so long to agree on a procedure because ‘there hasn’t been a case like that they knew of in America’.

‘If I was to get hit in the stomach, it would put me out for days so doctors put me on bed rest until they thought of a surgical plan.’ 

Fourteen months after the accident, Miss Arnold, who works with disabled children, finally underwent an eight-hour procedure to repair her torn abdominal wall.  

Her surgeon warned her it was an ‘extremely risky’ procedure, and admitted it was the first time they had done ‘something like this’.

She said it took doctors so long to agree on a procedure because ‘there hasn’t been a case like that they knew of in America’.

Miss Arnold said doctors used mesh to repair the tear. No further details were given on how severe the tear was, or why it took longer than a year to be fixed.

Now, 18 months on, Miss Arnold is doing well – despite surgeons being concerned her body could reject the mesh used to repair her abdomen.

She said: ‘Many surgeons thought I would never live a normal quality of life again so I’ve surprised a lot of them.

‘The police who responded to my accident thought they were walking to a dead body when they seen my car ripped in half and me partially ejected out of the vehicle.

‘One day I’ll be in so much pain I can barely get out of bed and the next day I could feel perfectly fine.’

Miss Arnold added: ‘It’s about learning my limits for example I can’t jump or lift over 15lbs (7kg) again in my entire life.

‘They have made it very clear there is no plan B for me yet so I have to be extremely careful with how I live my life.

‘But I am so lucky to be alive and to me, if I was able to survive something so crazy and so rare, so I’m just grateful to still be here.’  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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