Spinal surgery patient on life support

YORKVILLE – Hailey Ullom, the 18-year-old Yorkville resident who underwent spinal reconstruction surgery Tuesday, survived the surgery, but doctors still are trying to wean her off a respirator.

Family friend John Simmons said the surgery, which took place at the Cleveland Clinic, lasted seven-and-a-half hours. Hailey is the daughter of Missy Ullom of Yorkville, who is at the hospital with Hailey.

Simmons believes Hailey was placed on life support after surgery because of the amount of anesthesia that had to be used for the long procedure. He said doctors have tried once to take her off the machine, but she is not yet waking up on her own. They also believe she may have a blood clot, but he was not sure of its location.

”They’re going to try and do an MRI,” Simmons said Friday.

Hailey was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth. She cannot talk or walk and uses a wheelchair. The surgery is expected to prevent future damage to her heart and lungs, something that was anticipated to occur within the next five years. Though the procedure itself was considered life threatening, without it Hailey’s organs would have been too damaged for her survive. The surgery involved reconstructing her spine using tricalcium phosphate; it has only been performed a handful of times.

Simmons, a Wheeling resident, has organized the Helping Hailey Night at the Races fundraiser event slated for 6 p.m. June 1 at the Italian American Club on Sycamore Avenue in Elm Grove. Tickets include food and draft beer. There will also be a 50-50 raffle, door prizes and poker. Money raised during the event is expected to offset the cost of Hailey’s medical bills and travel expenses.