Car Crash Saves Northern Nevada Man's Life

By: Anne Cutler Email
By: Anne Cutler Email

In the blink of an eye, your entire life can turn upside down. For a Northern Nevada man named Sean Beauchamp that “blink of an eye” was a trip to the corner market. It all happened on what was quite literally a dark and stormy night. Michelle Woodard was driving home from the store, when the unimaginable happened.

"Visibility was poor, it was dark, it was raining and I didn’t see him. I didn’t even have a chance to slow down. So as soon as I hit him, I knew it was a person." Michelle could hardly believe what had happened. She had run over Sean Beauchamp while he was crossing the street.

Michelle was not cited, in fact police say it was Sean's fault that he got hit. He wasn't in a crosswalk. The crash was traumatic and potentially deadly. As Sean casually describes it, "Smacked my noggin, busted this leg and got a bunch of blood in my brain that ain’t supposed to be there.” What Sean really suffered was a broken leg, head lacerations, head trauma and a citation to boot.

To sum it up, Sean says, "It was a bad day.”

However, that's where the tables turned. The trip to the corner market that nearly killed Sean, may have actually saved his life.

Dr. Jay Morgan with Sierra Neurosurgery Group describes what happened when Sean arrived at the E.R. “As we usually do, we give cat-scans to the brain and parts of the body to make sure there are no broken bones or bleeds. They found a calcified lesion in the brain that was quite large.”

In layman's terms, Dr. Morgan found a brain tumor the size of a lemon. It explained a lot, as Sean had been suffering from epileptic seizures for the past five years. Not only did the seizures impact his life, but Sean's personality changed as well. The tumor was putting pressure on the frontal lobe, which can alter one's demeanor. It may have also played a role in Sean's decision to walk out in front of Michelle's car that fateful night.

Sean can see the irony. “I reckon it’s a blessing in disguise kinda thing. They’re gonna peel out that tumor in my head and maybe I won’t have seizures no more.”

That's exactly what they did. Sean will need radiation treatment, but the surgery to remove the tumor was successful and it may have saved his life. Dr. Morgan agrees. “I think in some respects its fortunate we were able to get to it at this point and hopefully with the adjunct treatment, we’ll be able to give him a quality of life for some time.”

Dr. Morgan says Sean's case is unusual, but not unique. Brain tumors can be silent for some time before people become symptomatic. It may require a trip to the E.R. for something else, before anyone realizes it’s there.

Sean can now live a life without seizures and a life with normal brain function. His "bad day' has turned out to be the key to a healthier life. Still, Michelle says she wishes it had happened differently. “If this is what it takes to save someone’s life, I think next time I’ll pass.”

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