Peninsula man still fighting to overcome awful accident injuries

<p>Chris Levno</p>

    PORTLAND — A local man who was cognizant and speaking in the days after he was seriously injured in a fatal accident on the Astoria-Megler Bridge is now in a sedated state as medical teams gradually work on assessing and healing his wounds.

    The early morning accident on May 2 that claimed the life of 27-year-old Nolan Benson also sent 57-year-old Chris Levno to the hospital with compression fractures in his spine and broken legs, ankles and feet.

    Levno, who was on his way to work at Wauna Mill that morning, has undergone numerous procedures since being transferred from Astoria’s Columbia Memorial Hospital to Legacy Emmanuel Medical Center in Portland.

    Initially, he was able to recall the accident and speak, but his wife, Carolyn, and daughter, Julie, say he has been sedated and is still on a ventilator due to pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs).

    In the first week of his recovery, doctors set fractured bones in Levno’s legs and ankles. In his second week, doctors continued to adjust his medications and inserted a central line into his jugular vein to monitor his vitals more closely.

    Through a CaringBridge blog, Carolyn reported that Levno’s color has improved and the swelling has visibly diminished.

    In an entry from Saturday, Julie reported, “I’m beginning to feel a bit like a broken record with, ‘No real progress.’ I do have a new fancy word for you today though. Dyssynchrony. It can be applied to many things, often the heart, but in this case it has to do with his lungs. Basically, they are saying that even under sedation his body is fighting the ventilator, making it even harder on his lungs. His breathing is ‘off’ from the pattern of the ventilator. So to fight this problem they are going to add paralyzation to his meds. They assure us this will allow the vent to do its job better and let him heal. To be honest, it freaks us out a little.

    “…They did a CT scan with contrast dye on his lungs late this evening. They discovered a blood clot in the lower right lobe. As much as this scares us we are trying desperately to believe that this new knowledge will help the doctors treat the problem more efficiently so he can get better.”

    By Sunday, Levno was on blood thinners to treat the blood clot in his lungs.

    On Monday, he was scheduled to have surgery on his left foot, which was postponed when the hospital needed the operating room for another trauma patient. Instead, doctors performed a tracheotomy and inserted a feeding tube, which was a piece of long overdue good news for his wife.

    “I will be able to kiss him once again,” she wrote in her blog entry. “Even if he won’t feel it, I can count them and he will owe me even more later!”

    For the most up-to-date information on Levno’s progress, log onto www.caringbridge.org/visit/chrislevno.

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