Patient Thanks St. Francis Medical Center Physicians and Staff
Dec 28, 2018 | St. Francis News
Our Miracle Angel – On April 3, 2018, Angel Rios and her boyfriend were rushed to St. Francis Medical Center’s Trauma Center. Her boyfriend had been shot while they were at a gas station in Whittier. As Angel jumped from the car to help him, the vehicle from which the shot rang out ran directly over her. Her boyfriend was paralyzed, and doctors told Angel’s family that she was probably not going to make it. As 12 tense hours passed, Angel recalls seeing God while she was in a coma. She said God sent her back. It was then that the physicians offered the family a little hope and said that Angel may survive, however, she would probably be a paraplegic. But Angel was a fighter, and with faith, a devoted family, and the care provided by the St. Francis Medical Center team of doctors, nurses, and staff, Angel not only lived, but returned to SFMC on December 6, walking on her own without assistance.
“I came back because I wanted to say thank you for taking care of me. Dr. Shepherd, Dr. Chou, and the entire team here saved my life.”
Her stepmom, Katherine Weaver Rios, accompanied her on the visit and said that Angel spent one month in the hospital fighting fever, connected to feeding tubes, and not able to talk, eat, or sit up. Slowly Angel regained consciousness and made improvements enough to go home on May 3.
To this day a portion of Angle’s skull that was removed to relieve the brain swelling is still sewn into her stomach to preserve it until the inflammation subsides and surgeons are able to replace the bone. She wears a protective helmet for the time-being and is learning to be patient with herself as she continues with her rehabilitation and therapy. When asked, Angel doesn’t remember much about the incident. What she does recall is how the nurses like Brenda Gomez in ICU would wheel her boyfriend from the adjacent ICU pod over to her bedside so that they could be together.
Katherine also has grateful memories of St. Francis. She says what stays with her the most is how Brother Richard Hirbe, Director of Spiritual Care, prayed over Angel, and soon after, staff and other patients’ families came to pray over her as well. She was very touched when even one of the parking valets said he was praying for Angel.
Today Angel looks forward to possibly pursuing a career in cosmetology. She does not have full use of her left hand, her dominant hand, so she learned to apply make-up with her right. She and her boyfriend are still together and very much in love, and they hope that he will regain the use of his legs one day. Angel says she has good days and bad days, but the fact that nobody at St. Francis ever gave up on her gives her strength every day. As she gave hugs and thank yous to our team she said with resolve and a twinkle in her eyes, “My message to everyone is ‘I’m still here.’”