Ireland Nugent lawn mower accident: 2-year-old saved by Palm Harbor nurse after legs severed
Jacqueline Ingles, WFTS
5:14 AM, Apr 12, 2013
11:57 AM, Apr 12, 2013
PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Nicole Turner is calling her neighbor Aly Smith a miracle and a savior.
Smith, a nurse, came to the rescue of her 2-year-old daughter Ireland after her legs were severed in a tragic lawn mower accident Wednesday night.
"It was horrible," explained Smith. "It's the scariest thing I have ever seen."
A labor and delivery nurse for nine years, Smith's training kicked in and got her through it.
Smith was sitting at home with her husband when she heard screams coming from outside. Her husband ran outside first and she followed. That's when she came face-to-face with a horrific scene.
"He kept saying, 'Her legs are gone, her legs are gone.' And I said that can't be possible."
Jeremiah Nugent, 47, was swaddling his daughter whose legs were both severed below the ankle. Just minutes before Nugent accidentally ran over his daughter with his riding lawn mower.
According to Ireland's mother Nicole, Ireland darted from the backyard into the front yard. Then, when she saw her father, she ran to him and began calling out, 'Daddy, Daddy.'
Nugent never heard his little girl because the lawn mower drowned her out.
Nicole tried to flag her husband down to warn him. Thinking he was about to hit something moving forward, he put the mower in reverse.
Ireland's mother watched the horrific accident.
"Why couldn't it have been me?" Nicole Nugent asked during a press conference at Tampa General Thursday afternoon. "Why did it have to be her?"
Smith said she helped wrap the little girl in towels and put pressure on her legs to help stop the bleeding. Smith was also comforting the little girl.
"She kept saying, 'I want to go to bed. I want my daddy and I want to go to bed,' anything to keep her talking," Smith explained.
Smith said she was surprised at how calm Ireland remained. She stayed with the little girl while her mother called 911. Fire crews responded and then Ireland was airlifted to Tampa General.
"It felt like an eternity," Smith said.
Ireland remain in the ICU tonight and is in serious condition. Doctors said she will recover and will walk again. And while Ireland's parents are thankful to Smith for all she did, she is remaining humble and said she was just doing what she was trained to do.
" I'll never forget it but it could have been a whole lot worse," she said.
Ireland has already undergone two surgeries, one to clean her wounds and a second to put a pin in her thumb. Doctors initially thought her hand needed to be amputated but only her thumb was broken.
The Nugents say Ireland will undergo several more surgeries in the coming days. She will also need skin grafts.
Steve Chamberland with 50legs visited Ireland in the hospital Thursday. He arranged for Ireland to get fitted for prosthetics for free. He says once doctors close her leg wounds Monday, she'll recover for four to six weeks before heading to Orlando.
He says they will fit her and she will be back on her feet the next day.
"To see a 2-year-old walk again, it's pretty much her first step and life," explained Chamberland. "Her father was so funny. He was ready to go. He was like, 'Can we get legs now?' He just wants to see her run again and be normal.