Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Michigan Woman Recalls ‘Freak Accident’ After Seat Belt Slices Her Stomach ‘Like a Sword’

Gina Arnold
via Twitter

*Gina Arnold, 22, was left with no abdominal wall to protect her major organs after her seat belt sliced through her abdomen during a near fatal car accident. 

Arnold opened up to PEOPLE about the rainy night she was driving home from work and lost control of her car in October 2017. The vehicle flipped over seven times and while the seat belt saved her life, it left her with injuries that perplexed doctors at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak in Michigan.

“I was grateful that it saved my life, but it was hard to wrap my head around all the injuries the seat belt caused,” Arnold tells PEOPLE. “I just call it a freak accident. I can’t believe the seat belt did that to me.”

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Arnold was in a coma for three days after the accident. She suffered several broken bones, had to learn to walk again and has undergone 21 surgeries. 

“They described my abdominal wall being cut like a sword by the seat belt. Even though it [the seat belt] did save my life, it caused many life-threatening injuries and tore my whole abdominal wall right in half,” she recalled of her conversation with surgeons.

“When I left the hospital … I wasn’t expecting to be in constant pain every single day,” Arnold says. “It was really frustrating being a 21-year-old and not being able to do the things a 21-year-old could do. I had the energy of a 90-year-old. I definitely had my days when I was extremely down. But I went to therapy and I kept reminding myself, ‘I’m alive, something good is going to come out of this.’ I tried to keep my spirits up.”

Doctors have put a mesh where Arnold’s abdominal wall used to be. But it comes with huge risks and an uncertain future. 

“There is no plan B for if my mesh does tear. If my mesh tears, they don’t know what do after that,” she says of doctors.

“Then I’ll be left with no abdominal wall again. It would tear the remaining muscles I have and that would be extremely painful. So I have to be extremely careful every day. This is my one mesh and I don’t have another one. This was the first time [the surgeons] have done something like this.”

Arnold tells PEOPLE, “I’m learning what I can and cannot do. My body is using all those other muscles besides my abdominals, so my body gets worn out quicker.”

 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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