A British middle school student who was paralyzed in the United States after a 2,000-pound bison mauled her and threw her 15 feet in the air has undergone surgery in Britain, but faces a long road back to health, her family has 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 June 16 attack.
Surgeons in Rapid City were able to save her life and her leg by bypassing the damaged artery.
Mia Dean is pictured in a hospital bed after being paralyzed when a 2,000 pound bison mauled her and threw her 15 feet into the air
Mia Dean, 19, was attacked by a large American bison while hiking with a friend through Custer State Park, South Dakota in June 2022. Mia is pictured as she embarks on her travels
While Mia, 19, fought 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 had to change their plans and fly her back to the UK when insurance companies threatened to withdraw funding unless they took up the option of flying home by evacuation once she was stabilized.
So Mia, a keen dancer who had hoped to start a course at Edinburgh University last month, was brought home to Brockham, Surrey, at the end of August and has been receiving 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 fully regrow after a graft and there was also extensive damage to parts of the perineal nerve.
A 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 undergone surgery where it was discovered that the tibial nerve was completely severed with severe scaring, and the perineal nerve was partially trespassed, crushed and compressed into scar tissue.
“The surgeon performed a tibial nerve graft using a harvested nerve from Mia’s left calf, and removed the perineal nerve from the scar tissue, allowing it space to decompress and suture, and glued the damaged outer sheath.
Mia came face to face with the bison on a trail in Custer State Park on the second day of her road trip with a friend in June 2021
Her family posted photos of Mia on the GoFundMe page. Her parents said she is lucky to be alive after the incident
“After the tibial graft is accepted, the nerve will have to grow down, about an inch a month, which means we likely won’t see any physical results until about 7 months after surgery and won’t know how successful it has been until about 12 months In some places in the perineal nerve, where the nerve cords were irreversibly cut or crushed, it will also need to regrow.
Mia is recovering from surgery and will hopefully start physical therapy soon.
“We are already seeing some progress in the decompressing perineal nerve, Mia can easily lift her toes, and physical therapy should help improve this movement and more.
Mia also still suffers from extensive nerve pain and general weakness in her left leg. We are unsure if the surgery will be a full success and we are now looking at physiotherapy, electrolysis, counseling and a brace for her leg and will keep you posted.
‘As always, we can’t thank you enough for your support! Love from Mia, Jacqueline and Matthew.’
The bison lifted his horn into her thigh and threw her 15 feet into the air. The horn puncture was so powerful that it went straight through her thigh and came out the other end. She is pictured receiving medical attention
Her wounds were oozing blood with an injury that usually kills within two and eight minutes, prompting her parents to say she is lucky to be alive
Mia came face-to-face with the bison on a trail in Custer State Park on the second day of her road trip with a friend in June.
As the couple walked along the picturesque road with a dog, they noticed the large male bison blocking their path.
They walked around the beast while it grazed.
It initially seemed unfazed by walkers before stopping to graze to investigate them. Suddenly it charged towards a terrified Mia.
She was “shocked into silence” before the beast slammed its horn into her thigh and threw her 15 feet 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 excruciating pain on the ground as the bison towered over her – one of 1,500 on the reserve – and stood right next to her head before her friend bravely led it away and called for help.
Her wounds were gushing with blood with an injury that usually kills within two to eight minutes, prompting her parents to say she is lucky to be alive.
The family posted photos of Mia on the GoFundMe page. Mia is pictured (middle 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 horrific ordeal only ended when Mia’s brave friend led the beast away and called for help.
Her parents said at the time: “We are overjoyed that our daughter is still breathing because she should have bled out in two to eight minutes after the severed artery and the ambulance didn’t arrive for 20 minutes.
“It’s a miracle she’s alive today. We believe 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 feeling of flying in the air and going headfirst.
“It’s a surreal enough experience let alone the fact that we didn’t do anything to really warrant it. We just took a walk in the park.
‘It’s a miracle I even lived until the ambulance got there, let alone kept my life and leg.
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