‘I am positive that I can overcome’; SoCal nurse says she will recover from freak spinal cord injury during trip to Costa Rica

  • Deanne Niedziela is recovering after a spinal cord injury sustained in Costa Rica
  • Niedziela was injured on a waterfall hike during Memorial Day weekend
  • She is the head nurse of the Spine & Neuroscience Institute at Providence Mission Hospital in Laguna Beach, California

The Southern California nurse who suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury during a trip to Costa Rica says she is feeling good about her recovery chances. 

Deanne Niedziela was crushed over Memorial Day weekend when a 5-foot tree limb fell on her while she and her husband Ken Niedzela were hiking. 

Deanne, the director of nursing at Providence Mission Hospital in Southern California, was welcomed home over the weekend. 

The woman arrived at Providence to dozens of staff members lining the hallway to offer her love and support as she now takes on the task of recovering. 

‘I know that I have a good team here and that my injuries … I am positive that I can overcome them, at least to a point where I can come back,’ Deanne said

Deanne Niedziela, the Southern California nurse who suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury during a trip to Costa Rica, says she is feeling good about her recovery chances

Deanne Niedziela, the Southern California nurse who suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury during a trip to Costa Rica, says she is feeling good about her recovery chances

Niedziela was seriously injured after she was hit by a falling tree branch on a hike in Costa Rica with her husband. The picture was taken minutes before the accident

Niedziela was seriously injured after she was hit by a falling tree branch on a hike in Costa Rica with her husband. The picture was taken minutes before the accident 

'I know that I have a good team here and that my injuries ... I am positive that I can overcome them, at least to a point where I can come back,' Deanne told ABC 7 Los Angeles

‘I know that I have a good team here and that my injuries … I am positive that I can overcome them, at least to a point where I can come back,’ Deanne told ABC 7 Los Angeles 

The couple had been on a group outing to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens when a ‘large’ tree limb cracked and fell about 100 feet, Ken said. 

‘All of a sudden I heard a huge crash,’ her husband shared with ABC7. ‘It was like a bolt of thunder, or thunderclap.’ 

‘This thing came slamming to the ground … was momentarily stunned. What is this? And I looked over and saw Deanne laying on the ground,’ Ken continued. 

‘I was just a few feet behind her and somehow wasn’t hit,’ he added.

In Costa Rica, Deanne underwent a nine-hour surgery for her spinal damage.

A GoFundMe started for the nurse to help bring her home from Costa Rica has raised more than $180,000 of its $250,000 goal. 

The woman’s family said the air transport alone was estimated to be up to $100,000. That is in addition to other medical expenses.

In an update, Deanne’s friends shared Saturday evening that she had made it home after ‘a long day of ambulance rides and air travel.’ 

Doctors at Providence Mission Hospital say they plan to treat Deanne for several weeks until she begins rehab for her traumatic injuries.

The nurse said she is hoping and planning to make a full recovery.

'All of a sudden I heard a huge crash,' her husband shared with ABC7. 'It was like a bolt of thunder, or thunderclap.' Pictured: The tree limb that fell on Deanne

‘All of a sudden I heard a huge crash,’ her husband shared with ABC7. ‘It was like a bolt of thunder, or thunderclap.’ Pictured: The tree limb that fell on Deanne 

In an update, Deanne's friends shared Saturday evening that she had made it home after 'a long day of ambulance rides and air travel.' Deanne with two coworkers

In an update, Deanne’s friends shared Saturday evening that she had made it home after ‘a long day of ambulance rides and air travel.’ Deanne with two coworkers 

A GoFundMe started for Deanne has raised $180,000

A GoFundMe started for Deanne has raised $180,000 

'The outpouring of the community from people I don't even know and a lot of people I do know, it's just been massively overwhelming,' Deanne said

‘The outpouring of the community from people I don’t even know and a lot of people I do know, it’s just been massively overwhelming,’ Deanne said 

La Paz Waterfall Gardens in Vara Blanca, Costa Rica where Deanne was injured

La Paz Waterfall Gardens in Vara Blanca, Costa Rica where Deanne was injured 

According to ABC7, staff were able to coordinate Deanne’s return with the funds raised through the GoFundMe. 

Her family hopes to use other money to send her to a rehab center in Colorado.

In the meantime, Deanne told the outlet she is grateful to be alive and have a support system in place. 

‘The outpouring of the community from people I don’t even know and a lot of people I do know, it’s just been massively overwhelming,’ she said.

Deanne has served for 30 years as the head nurse of the Spine & Neuroscience Institute in Laguna Beach. 

DailyMail

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