A 13-year-old Napa boy who was badly injured by a falling chimney in Sunday's earthquake was stabilized after a nine-hour surgery to treat pelvic fractures and is improving, his family said Monday.
Nicholas Dillon, one of several people seriously hurt in the 6.0-magnitude quake, had invited a friend to spend the night Saturday and was sleeping on his living room floor - his friend was on the couch - when the temblor struck.
Family members at the single-family home south of downtown Napa said Nicholas felt the jolt of the quake, heard the fireplace crumbling above him, and lunged to get away.
While he couldn't escape the falling bricks, he moved far enough to avoid being crushed.
"It's a blessing that he was able to spring out of the way," said his aunt, Carmen Rosales.
Nicholas' grandfather ran to a nearby fire station and alerted paramedics, who rushed to the home and transported Nicholas to Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, family members said. Nicholas' friend was not injured.
After doctors diagnosed Nicholas' injuries, he was flown by helicopter to UC Davis Medical Center on Sunday for surgery.
Family members said Nicholas was "groggy" after the nine-hour procedure but was doing as well as he could. He isn't expected to fully recover for several months, said Rosales, and he'll be aided by a wheelchair for awhile.
Nicholas had just started his freshman year at New Technology High School in Napa. Family members described him as a serious student who is also active in sports, including soccer and weightlifting.
A second patient initially admitted to Queen of the Valley in critical condition, whom hospital officials would not identify, remained in critical condition Monday, but was recovering in the intensive care unit and was expected to survive.
Meanwhile, the waiting area for the emergency room was empty Monday morning after the hospital treated 208 patients. Most of those hurt in the quake had injures that were not life-threatening. Seventeen people were admitted with serious injuries, including broken bones.
Shortly after the quake, the hospital set up a triage center behind the entrance to the emergency room. Division Chief Darren Drake of the Napa Fire Department described many of the patients as "walking wounded."
The stream of patients slowed by Sunday afternoon, with some injuries resulting from people cleaning up debris, said Walt Mickens, president of Queen of the Valley.
"We have no reason to believe we're not going to get these folks back to a productive life," Mickens said at a Sunday news conference.
A Napa woman died at the hospital Sunday, but hospital officials said they do not believe the death was related to the earthquake.
Leigh McDermott, 31, was taken off life support about 3:15 p.m. after apparently suffering a heart attack or some other medical emergency, said her father, Michael McDermott.
McDermott said he and his wife had been trapped by a fallen dresser for about 10 minutes following the quake. When they got to their daughter's room, she was not breathing. It took paramedics at least 20 minutes to get to their home on Presidio Way, he said, in part because phones were down.
©2014 the San Francisco Chronicle
Visit the San Francisco Chronicle at www.sfgate.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services