Kalleen Garringer had about a 20 percent survival rate upon arrival at Springfield Regional Medical Center following a fire that destroyed her Champaign County home just over a year ago.
Despite having burns on more than 80 percent of her body, Garringer overcame the odds and has numerous reasons to celebrate 2018.
Although facing additional surgeries in her recovery, Garringer has a new home in Springfield, is expecting a baby this spring and aspires to a new career path.
At a birthday celebration for her son on Jan. 28, Garringer was surprised to be reunited with Moorefield Twp. medics and Springfield Regional Emergency Department staff members who treated her.
“I was grateful to see them again after everything I went through,” she said. “They got me to where I was able to go on.”
On Jan. 30, 2017, Garringer’s world went up in flames.
A space heater’s overheated power cord likely sparked a fire in the mobile home she shared with her husband, Robert Garringer, and two sons. She smelled the smoke just in time and the family escaped.
But it came at a price.
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Kalleen Garringer suffered burns on 82 percent of her body; Robert Garringer’s legs and 30 percent of his back was burned, their 6-month-old also had significant burns, while 3-year-old Jace was unharmed.
Moorefield Twp. EMS responded. CareFlight was requested but unable to respond due to weather conditions.
The Garringers were rushed to Springfield Regional, where the team got to work, giving the family the initial care they needed.
Although Emergency Department Nurse Jessica Thornton deals with a lot of cases, she and her colleagues never forgot the Garringers.
“There are a few cases in your career that will shake you up and you’ll remember forever. This family is one of those cases for me,” Thornton said. “As bad as the situation was, the teamwork in the Emergency Department that night was amazing. It couldn’t have gone any smoother.”
Thornton said the staff stabilized the Garringers enough to later transfer them to Miami Valley Hospital. She credited Moorefield Twp. medics, CareFlight, Medflight and Dayton Children’s Hospital crews working together.
“We all gave everything we had that night but the real credit should go to Kalleen and Rob. They literally walked through fire to save their children,” Thornton said.
Kalleen Garringer was in the hospital for two months before being released, which defied the odds.
“My kids got me through,” she said.
Though she still faces additional surgeries and cannot currently work due to her injuries, Kalleen Garringer is focused on becoming a therapist specializing in working with burn victims in the future.
The reunion of Kalleen Garringer and the medical professionals helped confirm that and was a reaffirmation for the professionals.
“I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of the team that night,” Thornton said. “Seeing them all doing so well after such a horrible accident really helped to heal a place in our hearts and brought us some closure.”
Kalleen Garringer is looking forward to May 13, her due date, which is also Robert Garringer’s birthday, as well as Mother’s Day.
“We’re doing good,” she said. “I’m trying to stay on the positive side.”
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