Nikolai's mother, Kathy is posting updates on his condition and recovery here.
Nikolai grew up in Big Lake, Alaska. The son of a champion Iditarod racer, Martin Buser, he grew up working in his family's kennel Happy Trails and in the dog racing community. While he developed a love for the outdoors, he wanted to explore and try city life - so Seattle was a natural fit for him by providing the perfect mix of outdoors and the city.
He enrolled at the University of Washington in 2006. In his time at school Nikolai built many deep friendships through his fraternity, a support network we are very grateful to have during these trying times. Nikolai has an incredible outlook on life and is one of the most easygoing people out there. His personality is instantly welcoming and comforting to strangers, and his unique smile and chuckle are contagious. He has a passion for music and arts, that has taken him all over the country to a number of events and festivals.
Nikolai was admitted to Harborview Trauma Center ICU on Friday January 22nd after sustaining several injuries in a multicar accident on Westlake Avenue (Here is the article about it). Currently he is classified as in Critical Condition but stable.
His car was pushed into ongoing traffic, which left him pinned in the vehicle with serious injuries to his head, spine and legs. Thankfully an EMT was able to stabilize him while he was still pinned in the car before the fire department was able to free him with the Jaws of Life and transport him to Harborview.
Upon arrival he was assessed to be in dire circumstances due to his internal injuries in his belly and was rushed to the OR where his spleen and a foot of colon were removed. The docs opted to keep his belly open not knowing what other injuries might present. That means he is sort of taped up and hooked up to a number of different tubes until the doctors have addressed a number of remaining issues.
There are several teams of doctors involved- neurology, vascular, spinal, orthopedic. He has a one on one nurse round the clock. Since this is a teaching hospital, there are many groups of doctors in and out. After surgery and a CAT scan, the team began more in depth assessment and found numerous issues. From head to toes:
- Some bleeding in his brain demanded drainage. Currently this is the priority for treatment. Monitors measure the pressure in his skull and some drainage can be facilitated.
- Several fractured vertebrae in the neck and further down the spine with fractured ribs.
- One of the many scans revealed an aortic tear. Probably of #2 priority.
- His belly issues described earlier
- His left femur is broken and in traction but probably not a major concern.
His lab work has come back showing positive results. He also moved his fingers and toes, and during the last CT scan he made an attempt to pull the breathing tube out but most of the time he is heavily sedated. We visit him and hold his hand but are asked not to stimulate him because of the brain injury. We will not know the extent of the TBI until they decide to really wake him up, but upon returning from a CAT scan of his heart area this morning, Nikolai's nurse decided to try to get a read on his movement abilities. Martin was there and after being somewhat loudly encouraged, Nikolai wiggled all fingers and toes, executed a strong hand squeeze and gave a thumbs up. This is a huge positive indication!!! There's no way to know if other areas of his brain are hurt and we won't know until he's allowed to wake up but we are going to take this as a healing victory.
Many, many of his friends are coming by the hospital. His girlfriend Ari is hanging out here constantly. “Aunt Patty and Aunt Kristin” were here getting information even before his father Martin and I arrived. Kent Harrington made a stopover last night in SEA so he could sleep on the floor of the waiting room with Martin. Sean Williams, Beth Little and Knud and Linda Cyra have been here. We have so many folks visiting that they gave us our own conference room. Friends are bringing food and drinks, hanging out taking turns to just go stand with him.
One of the first responders even came to check on Nikolai today (9/25). She was the one trying to stabilize him while he was still pinned in his car. She said the top of the car came off real quickly but it took a long time to get rid of the metal around him after that. She also said the heavy Audi was a curse but without that much metal around him, he would have died on the spot. The EMT brought tears to our eyes, because she didn't need to come here to check on Nikolai today, the accident was on Friday, BUT SHE DID! We love this place for those reasons.
Thank you ALL for the many thoughts and prayers. Our hearts are so full with the love and prayers being sent our way. Moments in time are so valuable and we thank you for taking time to pray and send positives our way. Seems to me the energy being channeled to his ICU room is almost palpable.
All donations will be used for medical costs and other expenses that arise from this accident.
Love to all~ Kathy