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The Ben Bowersox Story

On Tuesday night, May 7th, Ben Bowersox (5 years old), the son of Worship Pastor Steve Bowersox, was injured in an accident at a local airport hangar. He was immediately flown to Duke University Medical Center for surgery to repair his arms, hands, and fingers. The story as it unfolded is outlined below, along with links to local news reports and photos. Thank you for your faithfulness to pray. You may send a message to Ben and his family here.

Local News updates on Ben Bowersox and his recovery
Thursday, May 9th - First Coast News
Thursday, May 9th - Pictures of Ben in the Hyperbaric Chamber, First Coast News
Friday, May 10th - First Coast News
Sunday, May 12th - First Coast News
Tuesday, May 21 - "What's Next in Ben's Recovery, Part 1" "What's Next in Ben's Recovery, Part 2", First Coast News
Thursday, June 13th -

Wednesday, May 8th, 3:00 AM
Ben is going in for surgery. He has four broken bones in his right arm and two broken fingers. He has two broken bones in his left arm and is missing five fingers. He has been very brave and poised. Infection and blood flow are critical issues.

Wednesday, May 8th, 1:00 PM
The surgery continues. Doctors are still working on both of Ben's hands under the microscope. Then, the plastic surgeon will come in and do his part.  

Wednesday, May 8th, 3:30 PM
Ben has been in surgery for his hands for 12 hours. They are just now starting on his arms. Surgery will last 2-3 more hours. They think his right hand will be fine. The left hand needs blood flow. Really, we need a miracle.The thumb is good. This is the most difficult re-attach Dr. has done. 

Wednesday, May 8th, 7:30 PM
Ben is out of surgery after 15 hours. Steve extends his sincere thanks for everyone's prayers. They have made a huge difference. We will have more updates once he sees Ben.

Wednesday, May 8th, 7:45 PM
The doctors put two flexible nails in the breaks in Ben's right arm and two pins in his right ring finger. They have a splint on his left arm & have attached all four fingers on his left hand. Now, it's all about the blood! (Amen). Pray for blood flow in Ben's left hand to strenghten. 

Thursday, May 9th, 9:00 AM
Ben is still sedated in the PICU at Duke. Please pray for blood flow to the fingers. It is the most critical need at this time.

Thursday, May 9th, 1:30 PM
Ben remains in the PICU at Duke. The outpouring of support from friends, churches, and the community is such a blessing. However, please refrain from visiting at this time. The most critical need continues to be prayer. Please pray for blood to flow to Ben's fingers. 

Thursday, May 9th, 4:35 PM
Doctors are putting tubes in Ben's ears so he can go into the largest civilian Hyberbaric Chamber, an intense oxygen environment that will help rejuvenate damaged tissues and show tissues that will not regenerate. There are still risks, but Ben is an incredible trooper. The doctors at Duke are doing all they can to save Ben's fingers.

Thursday, May 9th, 5:45 PM
Ben has just gone on a 48 foot Scuba Dive in the largest civilian Hyberbaric Chamber in the United States. His oxygen level will go from 30 to 100 with hopes of saving tissue. Two doctors are attending to him for the two hour procedure. This little boy has been through a lot and we are just beginning. Thank you for your continued prayers, we have hope!

Thursday, May 9th, 7:45 PM
Ben has finished the two hour Scuba Dive. He will have two or three tomorrow and will need a total of seven or eight. 

Friday, May 10th, 10:00 AM
Ben is back in the Hyperbaric Chamber for Dive #2. This chamber increases the atmospheric pressure from .5 to 2.5 and forces O2 through the body. The hope is to recover damaged tissues. Two fingers on his left hand look better. No changeon the other two on the left or the one on the right. Your prayers and words of encouragement are a constant source of strength for his dad, Steve. 

Friday, May 10th, 2:00 PM
Ben is going down for Dive #3 which will last for two and a half hours. He is alert and being sweet. 

Saturday, May 11th, 12:30 PM
Ben will have a day similar to yesterday--two dives and some tests. Pray for him to eat and sleep. The right hand looks a little better. The left hand is about the same. Continue to pray for the blood to flow and the tissue to grow.

Saturday, May 11th, 8:00 PM
Tomorrow, Ben has an 8:00 AM surgery to clean and inspect his hands and fingers. He has been a real trooper today, even joking with staff. He has completely won them over! Please pray for him to sleep, for those fingers to be pink again, and for God to be glorified in all.

Sunday, May 12, 8:00 pm
The doctors successfully cleaned, examined, and re-dressed everything during the morning surgery. The fingers look a little better. We don't know yet about movement, but life is coming. Ben also had another dive this afternoon. Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to remember Steve, Ben, and his twin sister Brooke.

Monday, May 13, 4:00 pm
Ben has had a full day with two dives and several doctor visits. His nerves are waking up and he is starting to feel pain, which is a good thing. The doctors say his right hand looks viable. On his left hand, the thumb and most of the little fingers look promising, but the two big fingers need blood, nerve, and skeletal healing. Another surgery is scheduled on Wednesday. Ben was extremely blessed today by his Sunday School class and the First Baptist Junior Academy who made cards and signs, and sent sweets, a Spiderman blanket, Superman hat, and monkey.

Tuesday, May 14, 9:00 am
Ben is back in the hyperbaric chamber again this morning and he will have another dive this afternoon. His right hand is making good progress. The pinky on the left hand looks good, but the other three are still of serious concern, particularly the index finger. Ben continues to have trouble keeping food down and he is starting to experience some significant pain.  He is scheduled for another surgery tomorrow (Wednesday) to assess his hands. Please continue to remember Steve, Ben, his twin sister Brooke, and big sister Rachel.

Tuesday, May 14, 4:20 pm
Ben is being moved out of PICU (Pediatric ICU) to a step-down unit. Surgery for tomorrow has been canceled. Doctors are hopeful and want to give the fingers more time in the Hyperbaric Chamber before making any decisions. It is a good day, but two and a half fingers have not shown life yet - but we have hope.

Thursday, May 16, 9:00 am
Today should be a slower day for Ben. Things change by the minute, but he is scheduled for two three-hour treatments in the chamber. A surgery has been scheduled for Sunday to assess his fingers. The right hand looks very viable. The left hand is still very concerning. The doctors are trying to give him as much time as possible to heal. We need a miracle. "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

Friday, May 17, 9:00 pm
Ben had a big day with a special visit from Grandma Wanda and twin sister Brooke. He got out of bed for the first time in ten days and enjoyed a wheelchair tour of the hospital. Surgery is still scheduled for Sunday. The doctors believe the right hand is going to be fine, but we won't know about the left hand until surgery. We are still praying for a miracle. Thank you for your calls, notes, gifts, and most importantly, your prayers.

Sunday, May 19, 8:00 am
Ben is going in for surgery at any time. The doctors are going to "clean up" materials that are not viable. They plan on saving the  bones for options later. Grandma Wanda and twin sister Brooke are here, but will return to Jacksonville later today. Brooke has been such a joy, a real bright light to both Ben and me.

Sunday, May 19, 5:00 pm
Thank you for all your prayers and concern. During Ben's surgery today, the doctors had to remove all four fingers on the left hand back to the first knuckle. They believe he will eventually be able to move them separately. The right hand and arm are doing exceptionally well and should return to full functionality. Please continue to pray for the long road ahead. God is good and it is well with my soul.

Wednesday, May 22, 10:30 am
Ben is preparing for another 6-8 hour surgery this morning where the doctors will take skin from his left thigh and use it to cover the exposed bone on his left hand. Ben's story was featured last night on First Coast News. To view the story, "What's Next in Ben's Recovery, Part 1," click here. To view Part 2, click here.

Wednesday, May 22, 5:00 pm
After 6.5 hours of surgery today, doctors were not able to attach a skin flap to cover the exposed bones on Ben's left hand. Instead, they attached his hand to his thigh. This will allow his hand to grow new blood vessels over the next couple of weeks. When they are well established, doctors will "detach" the hand and finish the 'flap.' Unfortunately, they were only able to save two of the four 'nubs' on Ben's left hand. He is in a lot of pain, so please continue to pray for him and for his dad, Steve.

Sunday, May 26, 8:00 am
Update from Steve Bowersox: Ben's pain is somewhat better. There's a fine line to balance between proper pain management and too much narcotics. I'm praying for protection against side effects. His hands look better. It will probably be another week or more until they remove his hand from his thigh. Thank you for your prayers and support. They help so much. I am so thankful for the Lord's help, strength, and peace. 

Wednesday, May 29
Yesterday was a rough day, followed by an even rougher night. Ben's vitals dropped and he was unresponsive. The medics gave Ben a chemical shock that reverses the effects of narcotics. It was a dramatic and aggressive reversal. Ben was revived and he's much better today—in fact, the most responsive he has been. They have stopped MOST of the narcotics and increased the nerve blockers. Ben's arms and hands are doing very well, but he has a rash (the doctors don't know why). Please pray for rest, peace, and continued healing.

Thursday, May 30, 7:00 PM
Ben is much better today and very alert (restless). He does not have a fever and the rash is almost gone. He still has tremendous pain in the left hand and significant pain in the right. He still has a feeding tube, but tomorrow he wants a donut in honor of our pastor, Mac Brunson, and to celebrate the removal of his cast from his right arm. To top it all off, Grandma got here just in time for our Superhero party tomorrow. I think we have turned a very dark corner and we are prayerfully on a rebound. Praise God! I am so grateful for a Savior who has been with us and carried us through this horrific ordeal. Thank you for your continued prayers and encouragement.

Friday, May 31, 2:45 PM
Ben is much better today. I think it's the donuts! The surgeon's plan is to 'divide' Ben's hand from his thigh on June 12. After a few days of recovery, he thinks we should be home before Father's Day. What a great Father's Day that would be! Thank you for your continued prayers. Blessings!

Sunday, June 2
Ben continues to improve and narcotics continue to diminish. We had a field trip to the helipad and for the first time since May 7th, Ben got to go outside. It has been good to have family with us - Grandma from Jacksonville, FL and cousins Don and Joy from Fremont, OH. We hope to get out of ICU this next week. All company leaves tomorrow so we get back to a 'normal' routine. Thank you for all of your prayers - they make such a difference.

Thursday, June 6
Ben has had a rough few days. He spiked a fever and is experiencing some other side effects. The doctors are trying to determine the cause--drug reaction, infection, or some other cause. Please pray for wisdom for his dad, Steve, as well as the doctors and nurses of Duke University. One step forward, another step back, but God is in control and He is my constant.

Sunday, June 9
Ben has had a quiet weekend and is much better. The fever is cyclical and is continuing down. He is looking and acting fine. He needs to eat and get out of bed so he doesn't experience skin breakdown. But what a change! Thank you for your continued prayes and support. It makes such a difference.

Tuesday, June 11
Ben continues to improve. He was able to tour two aquariums in two different hospitals. Surgically, Ben is doing well, but the fever continues. Although the doctors believe it is a drug reaction, they must wait for the drugs to exit his system to confirm. They are also beginning to work on the details to make possible a return to Jacksonville, so please continue to pray for wisdom and the logistics of coming home. Thank you for all the support and encouragement.   

Wednesday, June 12, 12:45 PM
Ben just got out of surgery to detach his left hand from his left leg and the surgery went well. The doctors were able to free his hand and close up his leg. His right hand has healed well and the doctors expect his movement to improve in the next three to six weeks. Ben still has a fever, which the doctors believe is a drug reaction and we will have to watch for infection. We are continuing to work on the details to return to Jacksonville, so please continue to pray for wisdom and the logistics of coming home. Thank you for the prayers. Blessings!

Friday, June 14, 9:00 AM
Ben is back in ICU. He has a fever, shakes, infection, fungus, and pain. They are drawing blood, running cultures, and putting in lines. They had to re-introduce the antibiotics and anti-fungal meds. Surgically, Ben is done, but there are serious issues with the fever and its cause. Everything is changing so quickly and constantly, but Steve and Ben are trusting the Lord as their help and strength.

Friday, June 14, 9:40 AM
They are preparing to rush Ben back into surgery. There is an infection somewhere! He is struggling to breath & his heart rate has been over 160 for 36 hrs. Please pray for miracle!

Friday, June 14, 12:00 PM
Ben is out of surgery. They did not find any infection in the wounds, but doctors suspect 'Septic Shock' or 'Anaphylactic Shock.' Both are huge and the doctors don't know which it is. They have taken cultures and blood samples to give them clues. He has high fevers, low blood pressure, increased heart rate, swelling, and redness. There is also pain! Please continue to pray.
Sunday, June 16, 12:00 PM
Ben slowly continues to improve. No fever. He sleeps most of the time with occasional wake-ups. Doctors still don't know what caused the Septic Shock or how 'they' fixed it. They say Ben has fought back and is very tough. We know prayer has made the difference. Grandma and sisters are here and we are praising God for all we have.

Monday, June 17, 8:00 PM
Today was a quiet day preparing Ben for surgery tomorrow. They will clean and close the wound. It has been great to be with my girls (Brooke and Rachel) who are here from Jacksonville. I pray we will be home soon. Thank you for your continued prayers.
Thursday, June 20, 9:00 PM
In order to minimize infections and prevent the growth of the fungus, the doctors have been flushing the wounds on his left hand. Unfortunately, these have taken a toll on the flap covering his left hand. They will watch it for a couple of days and maybe go into surgery this weekend to remove the dead tissues. Ben will probably lose the remaining two 'nubs' and more of his left hand. Ben is trying to get out of bed and eat to prepare him for release, but there is no target date. Ben is ready to go home. Ben and dad are "POW's" - Prisoners of Wounds! There is a war going on, but they are determined to win. They will not quit! Please pray for healing and perseverance.
Sunday, June 23, 10:00 AM
Surgery this morning went well! Doctors had to remove one of the knuckles on his left hand but he still has the other three. There is another surgery scheduled for Tuesday to clean up the dressing. Then, after that, we hope to come home!
Tuesday, June 25, 9:00 AM
Ben has another surgery this morning to change the dressing on his hand. He is progressing well. He stood yesterday for the first time in seven weeks - no steps yet, but that will come. Ben is learning to use his right hand again since his radial nerve was injured and he doesn't have control of his arm, wrist or fingers, YET! But he fed himself French fries & pretzels yesterday. Hopefully we can come home within a week. Thanks for your prayers, they have made such a difference.
Tuesday, June 25, 5:30 PM
Ben is out of surgery. It was a late start, but a brief procedure. There were no surprises. The doctors closed and cleaned and cultured various areas of his hands and thigh. They have set him up for discharge, but there is no clear date of release. However, if things continue as they have been, it will be within the week.
Thursday, June 27, 11:00 AM
We have a praise to report! Ben is doing well and is scheduled to return home on Saturday. They still have a long road ahead, but what a blessing to be able to continue it at home surrounded by friends and family. Thank you for your faithfulness to pray for Ben. Some of our church family are planning to gather on Saturday afternoon at Craig Airport (Sky Harbor FBO) at 2:00 pm to welcome Ben home. We will post updates as they are available.
Sunday, July 14, 12:00 PM
Steve Bowersox led worship this morning with Ben and Brooke in attendance. Praise The Lord! They will fly to Duke this afternoon for some appointments. Please continue to pray for his healing.
Tuesday, July 16, 9:00 AM
Steve and Ben flew back late last PM from Duke. Ben had good appointments - several stitches & surgical things removed - meds slightly adjusted - and new wound care. On the fungus, they will continue to watch it. They think his immune system will kill it with the antifungals he is taking. We continue to be grateful for Dr's, but our God is the healer. 

Wednesday, August 14, 12:45 PM
Steve and Ben flew back last night with good reports from Duke. The doctors are amazed at how well his left hand is healing. All the previously exposed bones are now covered with skin and the doctors believe the hand will be completely closed up in about six weeks. The left leg is also continuing to heal naturally. Later, if needed, they will consider another sugery for cosmetics. The right hand is continuing to heal - the skin is growing well - but the nerves are not progressing as much as they doctors had hoped. To determine the next course of action, Ben will undergo EMG tests in Jacksonville. There is no visual appearance of fungus, but they will continue to watch for it.  The Duke doctors and staff have been amazing. Steve and Ben enjoyed catching up with several people on this past trip to Duke and hope to see a few others the next time they are there. They are now getting ready for the start of the new school year. Thank you to everyone for your encouragement, prayers, and support.