Archive for Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Pear tree proves perilous for family

June 12, 2002

Lisa Kramer's hurried trip out to the pear tree last Wednesday afternoon was eerily familiar.

Al, her 8-year-old, had run inside the family home about eight miles northwest of Tonganoxie.

"Mom, Drew fell out of the pear tree."

As her heart sank, Kramer rushed outside, where her 6-year-old was lying, his right arm tangled.

She rushed with him to Cushing Hospital in Leavenworth. But several miles into the trip, Drew's eyes rolled back in his head and he said, "My head is cracking."

Kramer knew she needed immediate help. She dialed 911 on her cell phone, asking that an ambulance meet her at Casey's in Tonganoxie.

At the convenience store, an emergency medical team started work on the boy.

They couldn't find a pulse in Drew's right arm, and they were concerned about the loss of blood flow. They decided to ask for an air ambulance to fly him to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.

Kramer's fears about a possible head injury were allayed at the hospital, where Drew underwent about 40 minutes of surgery Wednesday night to set the break above his right elbow.

He was back home the following afternoon.

But this was the second time a Kramer child has been hurt at the pear tree.

"The older boy fell out two or three years ago," said Barb Kramer, their grandmother. "We had every ambulance out here. We live on the county line, and we had Leavenworth and Jefferson county out here."

And with good reason.

That time, it was Drew who rushed into the house, saying he'd shot Al. His mother told the child to go back outside and play. But when he came in a second time, with blood on his hands, she flew out the door.

Al lay under the pear tree, with a hole in his head. When grownups asked little Drew where the gun was, he refused to tell.

"He said, 'I be in trouble. I won't tell,'" his grandmother said.

Finally, he went to the road, where the grownups found a toy gun. He led them to another toy gun.

And that's when the grownups changed their thinking about Al's injury.

"They looked at the tree," Barb Kramer said. "He had hit his head on a broken branch and poked a hole in his head and knocked himself out."

The next day, Al, who was sporting a few stitches, was climbing a cherry tree.

Barb Kramer, who's retired from First State Bank's downtown office, said she and her family were grateful for the concern of friends, neighbors and even strangers. People dropped by Casey's with balloons and Teddy bears for Drew.

"We appreciate everything that everybody has done and all the help we've gotten from people and just the loving care that you can get in a small town that you can't get in a big place," she said.

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