Kailey’s Journey: Part 1
From Injury to New Beginnings at CNS Dallas and Fort Worth
This May, one year after her accident, Kailey attended her graduation ceremony. Ardent CNS staff and members of the community attended to show their support. In this photo, Kailey, (center) was joined by Patti Foster of Hope After Brain Injury (left), and Amanda Cambra, LCSW, CNS Regional Director of Marketing for Texas (right).
(Editor’s Note: In a three-part series we share the touching story of former CNS patient Kailey Tesdahl. We begin with Part 1, which chronicles her injury and path to CNS).
On June 5, 2017, Kailey was on her way to her high school graduation in Burleson, TX. The excited young woman was dressed in her blue graduation gown, ready to join her friends.
However, in a cruel twist of fate, she and her sister were struck by another car that had run a stop sign. Kailey was left unconscious and in critical condition.
Fortunately, a man at the scene of the accident was studying to be an Emergency Medical Technician and knew that Kailey’s head needed to be elevated until the first responders arrived. He climbed into the car and held her head until they arrived.
The 18-year-old was immediately rushed to Fort Worth’s John Peter Smith Hospital (JPS) Intensive Care Unit, and it was determined that she had suffered a traumatic brain injury.
So began Kailey’s journey into the continuum of care in the communities of Dallas and Fort Worth, TX.
Kailey spent the next six weeks in JPS, where she fell into a coma for two weeks. Her family desperately searched for a rehabilitation hospital for Kailey to transfer to.
“We were having difficulty finding a facility to accept us,” said Kailey’s mom, Stephanie Tesdahl. “Some doctors were even telling us she was a lost cause.”
Then Daisha Lucio, a nurse at JPS, stepped in to advocate for Kailey.
“I felt completely attached to the family from the first moment I met them,” said Daisha. “I have a daughter the same age, and I could not begin to act like I know what they were going through.”
Daisha reached out to her former colleague at JPS, Lisa Soucy, now a Community Liaison at CNS’ Fort Worth clinic, who made a strong recommendation that Kailey be admitted to Texas Rehabilitation Hospital in Fort Worth. What unfolded next was a cooperation of professionals in the community who joined forces to find rehabilitation for Kailey.
"I am so glad I had a wonderful, strong-minded friend at CNS behind the scenes to help me help the family,” Daisha said of Lisa. “Kailey’s journey has forever changed my nursing career, and the Tesdahl family will always have a special place in my heart.”
“Texas Rehabilitation Hospital got her up and got her moving,” said Stephanie, “but she was unable to walk, speak, and was oblivious to her surroundings.”
CNS’ remarkable Texas team of professionals. The family met Amanda Cambra, CNS Regional Director of Marketing for Texas, who began helping with Kailey’s transition from acute to post-acute care.
“We had a few options,” said Stephanie, “but when we toured the CNS Dallas clinic, it was beyond anything we had ever seen. Everything was state-of-the-art, professional, and it was clear they knew what they were doing.”
"There is nothing better than to be able to provide a family with resources that give them hope, notes Amanda, “Kailey and her family opened their hearts and allowed all of us to become a part of her amazing journey."
After 30 days at Texas Rehabilitation Hospital, Kailey was admitted to the inpatient CNS Dallas program, as a result of the many healthcare professionals in the community who pulled together from the beginning of Kailey’s journey, establishing a true continuum of care.
Stay tuned for part two of Kailey’s story, which chronicles her journey at CNS.