PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The 58th annual KDKA-TV and Children’s Hospital “Free Care Friends” telethon is being held today. It benefits the Free Care Fund at Children’s Hospital.
One of the countless children whose lives have been saved at Children’s Hospital is very close to the KDKA family.
KDKA’s Ross Guidotti shares how Children’s Hospital saved his son’s life this past summer.
On Dec. 13, Ross and his son walked into the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital. But six months ago, it was so different because Harry was in one of those rooms clinging to life.
Ross and his two sons were out on ATVs on a trail deep in the woods of Clarion County when Harry disappeared, seemingly driving into the woods.
But what really happened was Harry hit a rock, lost control of his ATV, flew off a 30-foot rail road bridge and landed in a rocky creek bed.
Both of his arms were broken, his right leg was shattered and his liver was severely damaged. He had uncontrollable internal bleeding and was flown to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
“The degree of injuries he had were really, clearly life-threatening,” said Dr. R. Cartland Burns, a pediatric general surgeon.
When they landed, Harry was rolled into a room with Dr. Burns and a team of incredible healers standing by.
“When you came in this room, there were 12 people who had one thing in mind, ‘Get Harry into good shape,’” said Dr. Burns.
A difficult task to say the least, he would have seven risky operations in two weeks, and no guarantees.
“The bones he had broken, by themselves in these locations, that could be a life-threatening problem, even without the injuries he had in his abdomen,” Dr. Burns said.
“There were several days when I couldn’t look at you and tell you he was going to make it,” Dr. Burns told Ross.
But incredibly, after 19 days in critical condition the kid, who is now nicknamed the Iron Bear, turned a corner and it was all thanks to the people of Children’s Hospital.
“Our goal is so we can make happy endings,” said Dr. Barbara Gaines, the director of trauma and injury at Children’s Hospital. “What keeps the ship floating is everyone here. Everyone plays a huge part in making kids get better.”
After months of incredibly painful rehab, Harry is back on his feet today. He has a titanium rod, a stainless steel plate and seven screws and bolts in his right leg alone.
His will, that’s made of the stuff of legend.
“I’m not one to give up so easily,” said Harry.
He knows the people at Children’s Hospital are the same way.
“They are amazing; these people know what they are doing,” he told his dad. “I feel extremely grateful.”