Ann Frances Crone
Halloween 2019 was truly a frightful day for Ann Frances Crone of Fulton and those who love her. Ann Frances was headed in heavy rain to work as a mammography technologist in Winfield, Alabama, when her car hydroplaned and careened down a 20-foot embankment.
She unbuckled her seatbelt, opened her car door and fell another 25 feet into the creek below. Fortunately, a truck driver saw her treading water and called for an ambulance, which took her to the Winfield hospital for blood and fluids and soon transferred her to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. “They prepared my family for me not to make it to Tupelo, but I did,” Ann Frances said.
Because of trauma to her heart, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Robert Derveloy performed aortic graft surgery that afternoon. The next day, orthopedic trauma surgeon Dr. Karl Van Osten operated on both her legs, which were badly broken. Over the next three weeks, Ann Frances was placed on a ventilator, underwent multiple surgeries on both legs and her heart, and suffered three small strokes. On Nov. 13, her left leg had to be amputated because of infection that developed in the open fractures from being in the water until help arrived. “They could have amputated my right leg, but they didn’t,” she said. “Dr. Van Osten worked so hard to save it.” Ann Frances was on a ventilator for 45 days in the Critical Care Unit before awaking to her new reality.
By year’s end, Ann Frances was well enough to be transferred to NMMC’s Rehabilitation Institute, where she had several hours of therapy every day to strengthen her upper body. On Jan. 21, she finally left NMMC. “I couldn’t have had any better care,” she says. “The staff and the good Lord are the reason I’m here. I work in the medical field, so I know how sick I was. God gave me the strength to get to North Mississippi Medical Center, and he enabled them to know what to do.”
Ann Frances, whose right leg remains in a cast, does therapy several days a week at NMMC’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Center to learn to walk with her new prosthetic left leg. She recently celebrated her 51st birthday, a day many weren’t sure she would live to see. “Your life can change in a minute,” she says. “I don’t take one day for granted.”