A teenager in Poway is recovering at Rady Children’s Hospital after getting hurt in a trampoline accident. Now, his parents have advice for others that they say saved their son's life.
Drew Merrifield, 14, spent two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit before recently being moved to the Acute Care Unit.
The accident happened on June 30.
Drew's mom, Cassie Merrifield, said the family had just finished eating dinner when Drew and their older son, Colton, went outside to jump on their trampoline.
A few minutes later, Colton came running back into the house.
“My older son came in and said, ‘Dad, you gotta hurry. Drew’s hurt real bad,” the boys' father, Tim Merrifield, recalled.
Tim Merrifield said Drew attempted a trampoline trick he had landed before, but something went wrong this time. Drew was lying on the trampoline motionless.
Tim Merrifield said Colton called 911 while Cassie Merrifield worked on regulating Drew’s breathing.
“I was telling him to breathe because he had labored breathing," the teen's mom remembered. "His eyes were looking at me. He was on his stomach. I was keeping him calm and telling him, 1-2-3, 1-2-3. We noticed one of his ears started getting purple. And then his face went purple, and his lips got purple including his whole face. And I screamed, ‘No! You fight!’”
She said right before having to make the difficult decision to have to move Drew and start CPR, paramedics arrived.
First responders rushed Drew to the hospital, where the Merrifields soon learned he broke his neck. Doctors worked to fuse his spine and had relieved pressure from the injury within four hours.
The Merrifields said they weren’t sure how severe their son's injuries were.
“He was just hooked up. He had no body function,” Cassie Merrifield said.
“At that moment, we talked, and we opened our hearts to God, and we asked everyone we knew to say prayers for Drew,” Tim Merrifield said.
Cassie Merrifield said after two weeks in the ICU, Drew moved on to rehab in the ACU, where he’s expected to stay for the next month.
The teen's recovery is slow, but every day he's getting stronger.
“It’s day 19, and he’s using a walker. He’s lifting up on the bed and standing up with some assistance,” Cassie Merrifield said.
The Merrifields have advice for other families.
"Pair up, like when you’re running. Run in pairs, go on the trampoline in pairs,” Cassie Merrifield said.
She said if Colton wasn’t there to call 911 and alert the parents, Drew’s outcome could have been much different.
Cassie and Tim Merrifield don’t know how well Drew will recover, but they’re staying hopeful and are asking for the community’s support.
The family set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses.