AMERICAN FORK — A boy who had part of his brain removed after falling from a second-story window had his 13th surgery Wednesday.
Chason Barkle, 12, has made a miraculous recovery after a tragic accident, according to family. He was 3 years old when he was playing with his 5- year-old brother in their room. His mom told the boys that if they cleaned up their toys they could go out for ice cream, but they never got the chance.
It was a hot day and while their parents were downstairs, the boys decided to try and open up the window more. A bar was in place to prevent the kids from falling out, and when the 5-year-old tried to push on the window harder he accidentally pushed his brother out.
“We heard crying outside and at first we thought it was one of the neighbor boys who was always doing dangerous stuff, but my older son came down and said, ‘Go outside, go outside,’ ” said mother Haley Barkle. “We found Chason on the grass and called 911.”
Chason had fallen onto the metal edge of a window well, which was impaled 4 inches into his brain. He pulled himself off of it and never lost consciousness. An ambulance was already in the area so Chasen was quickly taken to the nearby American Fork Hospital before being transported by medical helicopter to Primary Children’s Medical Center.
“When we got there he was already in surgery and they told us that there was a real possibility that if he survived he might be a vegetable, that he would need to learn how to walk and talk all over again, that he might not know who he was or who we are, and so that’s kind of what we were facing going into the surgery,” Barkle said. “He woke up that next morning and said, ‘Hi, mom!’ ”
His skull was broken and doctors had to remove part of his brain, but Chason was able to return home only nine days later. Since the accident in 2005 he has had numerous surgeries and several complications, but he shows no signs of brain damage or aggression.
He is also at the top of his class, learning the cello and preparing to enter junior high school. He has some trauma-induced cerebral palsy and a shunt, but he doesn’t let that hold him back.
Chason and his family are hoping that the 13th surgery, where another replacement skull was put in, will be his last and allow him to participate in activities like riding bikes with his friends.
“People say it is awful to go through this (surgery) right now, but he just wants to live as normal a life as possible,” Barkle said. “He’ll always have to be careful of his head, and a concussion for someone else could be seriously damaging for him, but he gets to lead a more normal life.”
The family is still searching for the woman who they refer to as their guardian angel from the first moments of the accident. The woman was driving by the home when Chason fell out of the window and turned around to check what happened.
“Literally she came in, put my purse on my shoulder, put my shoes on my feet, and helped me buckle into the ambulance,” Barkle said. “She was some stranger who came out of nowhere and disappeared just as fast.”
“I don’t know how I would have ever made it into that ambulance — I was such a fog and she literally just led me through it and took care of me.”
She said Chason is a miracle, and that the family feels blessed to have him around.
“He is just a fabulous kid,” she said. “He is funny, smart, clever, creative and resilient. We had said if this had happened to maybe one of our other kids it might not necessarily have been the same thing. He is very capable of handling it and taking it for what it is and succeeding anyway.”
A fundraiser is being held on Go
Fund Me to help cover Chason’s medical costs.