Aug 13, 2008 The 73-year-old woman who was pulled out of the North Umpqua River after a rafting accident near Glide Tuesday came out of her coma Thursday afternoon and is recovering in a hospital intensive care unit, her son-in-law said this morning. Donna Bryan of Myrtle Creek was floating down the river Tuesday afternoon when she tipped out of the back of her raft.
Bryan’s son-in-law, Chris Shoopman, said. Bryan had recently bought a new raft and was eager to get it on the water, he said. The woman visited Shoopman and his kids at their Whistler’s Bend Park campsite Tuesday, and they all decided to float down the river. Bryan, her grandson and his friend all rode in one raft, and Shoopman and his two daughters were in a second raft. Shoopman said Bryan’s raft had moved into a deep, swift area when Bryan tipped off the back of her raft. Bryan likely became disoriented in the cold water and “sucked in a lot of water instantly,” Shoopman said. Bryan may have bumped her head on a rock as well, and she was not wearing a life jacket, her son-in-law said.
Shoopman saw his mother-in-law in the water and started yelling for help. “I just screamed, ‘Help me get my kids out of the water, my mother-in-law is drowning,’” he said in a phone interview this morning. “And people came running and took my kids to the campsite and comforted them.” Shoopman paddled to his mother-in-law and tried to pull her out of the water and started rescue breathing, he said. Bryan was in the water about three minutes until Shoopman could reach her, and it was an additional 12 minutes before he was able to get her out of the river, he said. A nurse from Albany, Susie Rowe, was camping nearby and provided CPR until paramedics arrived. Bryan had been in a coma since her arrival at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg earlier this week.
Doctors told Shoopman and his wife, Libby, that Bryan had about a 10 percent chance of surviving. If the woman did make it, doctors said she would almost certainly have brain damage. But Bryan defied expectations Thursday when she came out of her coma and is now alert and coherent, Shoopman said. The woman doesn’t remember what happened, he said, but doctors predict she will fully recover. Shoopman said he wants to thank all of the nearby campers who helped his mother-in-law, took care of his kids and tended to his campsite after the incident, and he wants everyone to know his active mother-in-law is doing well. “But she needs to get out of the hospital so she can go for a ride on my motorcycle,” Shoopman said with a laugh.
You can reach reporter Marissa Harshman of the News-Review at 957-4202 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.