JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A recall affecting more than 14 million vehicles in America comes too late for one Jacksonville woman, who was severely injured after her airbag exploded during a car accident.
Kelly Sims says her mother Patricia Mincey is now a quadriplegic after the driver's side air bag in her Honda Civic exploded.
"Everyone walked away from that accident accept for my mom," said Sims. "The airbag, the pressure and the airbag was just too much force."
Sims said she is staying strong for her mother, but said everyday since the accident has been difficult.
"It was fathers day, and I was on the Bluetooth with my dad telling him Happy Father's Day when I was driving home and when I got to the intersection of Collins (Road) and Rampart (Road) there was an accident," said Sims.
A short time later, Kelly got a call - her mother was involved in the accident and was being rushed to the hospital. Kelly says she began to panic. She waited in a room at the hospital four hours not knowing if her mother was alive or dead.
Doctors finally came in to break the news.
"They were trying to beat around the bush that she was paralyzed," said Sims. "You just get to the point where you want to shake someone and say just tell me. Just spit it out, you know?"?
She knew life would never be the same but that day she grabbed her mothers hand and told her everything was going to be OK. Kelly said it was the force from the drivers side airbag that severed her mothers spine three quarters of the way.
She had surgery at UF Health to fuse her spinal cord back together but recovery is far off. She needs around the clock care to tend to her needs.
"My mom is very lady-like and proper and has a lot of pride and I know it has to be so hard on her," said Sims. "But she really wants to be a voice for other people who have been in this situation or may be in this situation and be an inspiration to them and she's asked me to help her do that, and I have to."
UF health gave her diaphragmatic pacer that helps re-train her diaphragm, but according to Sims no one in Jacksonville knew how to wean Patricia off the ventilator.
Sims said she found a place in Land-O-Lakes, but after getting there the long-term acute care facility told her it'd never handled a case like this before but said they would try and help.
Then, Patricia's trach slipped, temporarily blocking her airway.
"She was blue when they found her, I thought she was brain dead. I had them take her to a hospital after 12 hours, said Sims. "She responded but that's why we're now at the Florida Hospital of Tampa."
Sims says the long-term goal is to get her mother back to a Jacksonville hospital so she can recover, then get her to a program that deals specifically with diaphragmatic pacers so she can begin the healing process.
Sims has set up an account to help with transportation and medical expenses.