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Guelph woman still in critical care a month after multi-vehicle collision and multiple surgeries

‘This has absolutely changed her life forever:’ daughter in law of Brenda Westbrook

Brenda Westbrook may have gone through numerous major surgeries in the past month since her accident but healing may be a long and arduous process. 

Currently, with a tube in her throat and no sensation in her legs, Westbrook may never walk again says her daughter-in-law Beth Lucier.

“This has absolutely changed her life forever,” said Lucier. 

Westbrook, 46, was involved in a seven-vehicle collision on Victoria Road on Oct. 7. She was immediately taken to the Hamilton General Hospital and treated for a ruptured spleen, fractured vertebrae, a bruise on her brain and an aortic arch. 

Since then she underwent a tracheotomy and may even have a speech valve attached to her tracheotomy tube to help her speak, Lucier said.

“The tracheotomy had been there to help her breathe as well as to remove fluid build-up in her lungs. She wasn't strong enough to cough up on her own. She has also been on a feeding tube this entire time as she was unable to eat,” said Lucier. 

“She still has no feeling in her legs, which means she won't be able to do just any job. It means house renovations are going to be needed or potentially even having to move. It means vehicle accommodations. It means a lifetime of recovery and having to relearn how to go through day-to-day life,” said Lucier.

Westbrook was transferred from Hamilton General Hospital to Guelph General Hospital’s intensive care unit a few weeks ago. 

“The doctors have noticed more weakness on her right side than the left. They are still unsure if she will ever walk again, but if she does, it could be three to five years from now. Brenda is stronger every day, able to stay awake for longer periods and seems fully aware of her surroundings now, although she can't move much,” said Lucier.

Lucier said visiting her mother-in-law has been tough.

“I visited one time for about 10 mins and I felt guilty because I wanted so bad to understand what she was saying and I could only understand two things: ‘Tell the boys I love them’ and ‘I love you too’. Nothing else I could make out and it broke me,” said Lucier. 

Lucier initially tried to raise funds through Scentsy to offset recovery costs but it didn’t seem to work. On Sunday, she set up a GoFundMe page hoping to raise $5,000 to aid her recovery. Since Monday afternoon, the fundraiser raised $300.

“At this time it's unknown what community supports will be needed because we are unsure what exactly will be needed at the time of release. For sure prayers and thoughts at this time are more than welcomed and appreciated. From my understanding, we are done with surgeries which is awesome news,” said Lucier. 

Her stepson Leo Lucier said Brenda played an incredibly important role in his life growing up and he is both terrified and hopeful for what the future holds. 

“I hope that she can return to a sense of normalcy and that we can continue to be a family unbroken,” said Leo.

Westbrook’s stepson Jonathan Lucier said he’s trying to stay positive but sometimes it becomes hard to do that. “With all my heart I'm trying to stay upbeat about it,” said Jonathan.