Makayla Pierson: Abernathy teen working against the odds

Makayla Pierson: Abernathy teen working against the odds

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Makayla Pierson has never been afraid of a challenge. A multi-sport athlete all through high school, she’s used to working against the odds; but her senior year at Abernathy High School would come with the biggest challenge yet.

On a day we celebrate our independence, Makayla lost a large sense of her own. It was Fourth of July 2018, weeks away from the start of her last school year, Makayla spent the day with friends. They were riding around in an ATV when tragedy struck. A sudden, sharp turn sent the ATV rolling, smashing Makayla’s right hand as she reached for the roll cage above her. She knew she had been injured in the accident, but had no idea just how severe that injury was.

“I knew that I had hurt something. I was thinking it was like my arm and so I looked at my arm and there was nothing there, it was fine. And then I saw my hand and it was kind of just dangling there,” Makayla said.

Makayla’s right hand had been degloved- peeling layers of skin and tissue away from her hand, severing the blood supply. She was taken to UMC where doctors were almost certain they wouldn’t be able to save it. However, one doctor was determined to try.

Dr. Desirae McKee, an Orthopedic Hand Surgeon at UMC, was called in to preform Makayla’s surgery. She says it was a race against time.

“Makayla’s hand basically slid off about halfway and that ripped all the blood vessels. So even though it slid off and looked like she still had a hand, there was no blood supply going to the hand. Dr. Jenkins, my partner, called me in I think it was around midnight on July 4th. He already had her in the operating room by the time I got to the hospital because if you don’t get them hooked back up right away, you have a certain time limit before things start to die,” Dr. McKee said.

Makayla Pierson injury, initial x-ray
Makayla Pierson injury, initial x-ray (Source: Pierson Family)

When Makayla woke up, much to her and her family’s surprise, her hand was still there, but she still had a long road to recovery ahead. Makayla would undergo five surgeries and nearly a hundred physical therapy sessions to regain movement and rebuild strength in her hand. She also had to learn how to write and type solely with her left hand.

She says it’s been hard, and overwhelming at times, but the UMC staff has been there for her every step of the way. Whether it be securing an experimental treatment for bone growth to help heal Makayla’s hand, or fighting with her insurance company for more therapy sessions when she reached her max, the Pierson family says they’re thankful for everything UMC has given them.

“I think a doctor would do everything they can to help me while I’m at the hospital, but I never thought or realized they would do stuff outside of me being at the hospital. It means a lot to me. It’s just, it’s amazing that it’s not only me and my family that are trying to fight for more insurance or for the bone growth stimulator. It’s other people and it’s the UMC staff," Makayla says.

Makayla graduated from Abernathy High School in May 2019 and will attend Texas Tech University in the fall. She’s planning to pursue a career in medicine...hopeful she can help others the same way UMC has helped her.

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