SHE SHOULDNT EVEN BE ALIVE
By EMMA O'NEILL
ELEVEN-year-old Courtney Smith-Garbutt is lucky to be alive.
Nine days ago she was hit by a car while crossing the road in Ballina and suffered horrific injuries, forcing doctors to tell her parents she shouldn't be alive with the damage her young body had suffered.
But she is, and she's just beginning a long, painful road to recovery.
The terrible accident happened on August 31 as she and her two sisters walked home from a nearby park.
The girls had to cross the Pacific Highway at Fishermans Creek Bridge, but Courtney didn't make it across the road.
Instead she was hit by a car, the impact throwing her into the air, across two lanes of traffic and onto a railing on the opposite side of the road.
She lay motionless on the railing until passers-by moved her to a walkway where ambulance officers could treat hear.
Courtney's mum Glenda, who is 28 weeks pregnant, arrived on the scene after being told of the accident by a neighbour.
"I could hear Courtney screaming and my other two girls were there and really shaken," she said.
Courtney suffered two broken legs, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a bruised lung, and a blood clot formed near her heart.
She endured five hours of surgery soon after the accident, more surgery three days later, and is expected to have more surgery next week.
Her sisters, Nora and Madison, are still shaken and undergoing counselling.
Doctors said it would be at least six weeks before they can assess the extent or length of her recovery.