The Doctors: Jamie Hilton 12 Foot Fall
The Doctors TV show shared the terrifying story of a fall that former Mrs. Idaho Jamie Hilton had while her husband Nick helplessly watched.
On June 6, 2012, the Hiltons were on their annual fishing trip to Idaho when Jamie took a step backwards off a 12 foot cliff. Falling was the last thing that Jamie remembered. Nick raced down to her and said she wasn’t breathing, didn’t have a pulse and looked dead.
Nick didn’t have any cell phone service, but luckily a nearby fisherman did and made the 911 call. Jamie immediately went into surgery to remove part of her skull because her brain was swelling so much. All he kept thinking was that he only had 12 years with her, and didn’t know how he would face the next 60 without the love of his life.
The Drs: 25% of Jamie Hilton’s Skull Was Removed
The surgeon told Nick that he had removed part of Jamie’s skull and put it in her stomach, and that the next 72 hours were the most critical. She was put into a coma for three days, and then she was released to come home with the skull piece still in her abdomen.
Up next for Jamie was a surgery to put the part of her skull back. The two main risks of this surgery were infection and whether or not her body would recognize the piece of her skull.
Jamie said that as soon as they put her skull piece back in her head, her body started responding better, she had more energy and her headaches were gone. Jamie and Nick appeared on The Doctors to talk with Drs. Travis Stork Lisa Masterson and about their ordeal.
The Doctors: Removing Jamie Hilton’s Skull Saved Her Life
Nick said that one of his biggest fears was that she wasn’t going to know who he was or remember their memories over the last 12 years. Jamie said that the last thing she remembered was pulling back on her fishing pole and then falling, and then she woke up in the hospital surrounded by her family.
Jamie told Dr. Masterson that she participated in speech, occupational and physical therapy, but she never had a problem with speaking. When she woke up, Nick handed her a pen and paper and asked her to write. She wrote “Jamie Hilton loves Nicholas Hilton,” and brought that piece of paper to the show.
Dr. Stork said that when Jamie hit her head, it caused frontal contusions and a subdural hematoma with blood surrounding the brain. He said that your skull can both save your life and kill you, because when the brain swells like Jamie’s did, it has nowhere to go. By removing 25% of her skull, Jamie’s doctor saved her life and allowed her brain to shift.
The Drs TV: Skull Stored in Abdomen
Another problem was dealing with the removed part of the skull. Bone will die, as it is living tissue, so it needed to be stored somewhere sterile until they were ready to put it back. Jamie said that she had never heard of storing a skull in an abdomen before, but she was just thankful to be alive.
Dr. Stork showed the audience a picture of Jamie with the part of the skull missing. Jamie’s neurosurgeon, Dr. Thomas Manning, called in to the show and said that storing the skull in the abdomen is more common than you might think. Dr. Manning said that he’s done this eight times in the last two years, and just did another one this past Sunday.
Dr. Manning put Jamie’s skull back in her head after six weeks, but generally they do it between eight and twelve weeks. By six weeks, her swelling had gone down enough to do the surgery.
The Doctors: Jamie Hilton’s Marriage Secret – Hammer Marriage Metaphor
Jamie said that it was awkward with her kids for a little while because mom was different. She said they are fine now, and the more she was able to do things, the more normal things were with her kids.
Dr. Stork asked Jamie and Nick what their secret was for being BFF’s. Jamie said she likes to think of it as a hammer–you can take the hammer and destroy things with it or you can build something wonderful, and that’s what they’ve decided to do.
The Drs: Jamie Hilton Foundation
Jamie said that at the time of the accident, they didn’t have any insurance. Friends of theirs set up a foundation to help them raise money towards their medical bills, and you can find information about it at jamiehilton.com and youcaring.com.
Four of Jamie’s friends, who are also former Mrs. Idahos, said that if they can raise enough money, they will shave their heads at the end of the year. Learn more about Jamie’s foundation and scull repair in the video below.