Skip to navigation

Family grateful for orthopaedic care expertise

Family grateful for orthopaedic care expertise

Emma Owston
Hometown: Roseville
Condition: Traumatic injury 

Emma Owston was riding with her grandpa through sand dunes near Pismo Beach when their vehicle was run over by a Hummer automobile. Emma’s father, Matt, witnessed the collision and was the first responder on the scene.

“I thought I had watched my daughter die,” said Matt, recalling the horrific accident that brought the joy of a spring vacation to an abrupt end. A Sacramento firefighter, Matt was able to extricate his daughter from the wreckage and transport her to the beach several miles away. From there, emergency responders transported Emma to the nearest hospital, where doctors quickly arranged for Emma to go to a level one trauma center. Matt and his daughter flew by emergency transport to Fresno Community Hospital. Emma’s massive injuries included a traumatic brain injury, broken clavicle, chest laceration, spinal injury and complex open fractures to both the tibia and fibia in her right leg.

As doctors counseled Emma’s parents, Matt and Nicole, regarding the need to find a surgeon experienced in pediatrics, concerned family and friends called to offer help. One caller linked Matt with Dr. Brian Haus, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California and the University of California, Davis Children’s Hospital.

“Dr. Haus informed us he was working to get a room available at UC Davis,” said Matt. On Easter Sunday, Dr. Haus operated on Emma, finishing surgery at 3 a.m. on Monday.

Six months later, Emma was walking with the assistance of a boot, enjoying her new kitten and back at school with friends. She continues to see Dr. Haus during appointments at the Northern California Shriners Hospital, where x-ray techs, cast techs, and orthotics specialists also are involved in her care.

The Owston family is grateful for the care provided by the Northern California Shriners Hospital and to Dr. Haus for, as they put it, “saving Emma’s future.” “We know that Emma wasn’t his only patient, but he made us feel like she was,” says Matt. “Initially, his surgery saved Emma’s leg. Ever since, he has been helping our family heal.”