Cedar Springs woman survives internal decapitation

CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. (WOOD) — That Lila DeLine survived the car crash that internally decapitated her is astounding, doctors say.

Dr. Charles Gibson, a trauma and acute care surgeon at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, said DeLine's spinal cord broke so far up that it was essentially the same injury you'd see from a guillotine.

She is the first patient he has seen survive such a severe injury.

"Just her getting here is nothing short of a miracle," Gibson said. "Most people don't even make it from the scene of the crash with this sort of injury."

The pain from her injuries is still visible from the winces on DeLine's face, but that doesn't undermine her undeniable progress.

"There's still times where I sit here now and go, 'My head is screwed on, literally screwed on, and that's the only thing keeping it on,'" she told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday inside her Cedar Springs home.

She explained that she had almost made it home on Aug. 16 when another car hit her. Her husband was in the driveway, anticipating her arrival.

"He was looking at my car when she hit me," DeLine said.

Her vehicle landed in the ditch by her house. Photos of the crash show the twisted, mangled metal.  

"I was slumped over the center console, not breathing," DeLine said.

She doesn't remember what happened, but family members filled in her in later.

Full story on WoodTV.com


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