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La Grande Observer Daily paper 09/19/14

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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Vaughan wakes from coma

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Vaughan wakes from coma

It will be a long road to recovery, but Joseph Vaughan, 23, of Elgin surprised the medical staff at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, Wash., when he woke up from a chemically-induced coma after three weeks and began walking with the aid of a walker and physical therapists at his side.

Though he has no memory of it, Vaughan was critically injured on June 21 when he was traveling east on Highway 82 and drove his pickup through the left side of a Rogator field sprayer driven by Earnie Parsons, also of Elgin. Vaughan was transported by Life Flight to the Washington hospital for emergency surgery. 

His injuries included three broken vertebrae in his neck, broken ribs and a punctured lung. According to his mother, Shara Hindman, the doctors performed a tracheotomy and brain surgery to relieve swelling in his brain. They also put him on a feeding tube and put him into an induced coma to keep him still and unable to feel acute pain.

Despite serious head trauma, Vaughan had no facial lacerations to indicate he had been in a horrific accident. 

“That’s the weirdest thing,” Hindman said. “He has a hole in the top of his head for a probe to monitor his brain pressure, and he has a little scar on the left side of his eye where he was cut, but they stitched that.”

For the complete story, see Wednesday's edition of The Observer. 

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