US: Dorian victim, 85, survives after floating in a chair for 3 days in rising waters - PressFrom - US
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US Dorian victim, 85, survives after floating in a chair for 3 days in rising waters

08:40  20 september  2019
08:40  20 september  2019 Source:   msn.com

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A Hurricane Dorian survivor walks past a beached powerboat in Marsh Harbour, Abaco Island, in the Bahamas on Sept. A volunteer looks for the owner of a dog he rescued from the rising waters caused by Hurricane Dorian near the Causarina Bridge in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas on Sept.

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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — As 85-year-old Virginia Mosvold floated in the rising ocean waters during Hurricane Dorian, helpless family members could do nothing more than watch from the rafters and prepare for the worst.

a person standing in a room: Virginia Mosvold, 85, of Grand Bahama is visited by her daughter, Sissel Johnson, as Mosvold recovers from a leg infection at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla, on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. Mosvold, her daughter and son-in-law rode out the storm on the east end of Grand Bahama where their home and farm were destroyed by Hurricane Dorian.© Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS Virginia Mosvold, 85, of Grand Bahama is visited by her daughter, Sissel Johnson, as Mosvold recovers from a leg infection at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla, on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. Mosvold, her daughter and son-in-law rode out the storm on the east end of Grand Bahama where their home and farm were destroyed by Hurricane Dorian.

But Mosvold somehow managed to cling to a refrigerator in her Bahamas home and keep her head above water — for three agonizing days.

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“We said goodbye to her a few times and told her we loved her,” said the woman’s daughter, Sissel Johnson. “It’s by the grace of God that she survived.”

Mosvold is now battling severe leg infections and pneumonia at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla.

Her astonishing story of survival against the odds began when Dorian’s fury battered the home and the surge lifted her off the top of the kitchen counter and into the ocean water. “It came in like a tidal wave,” Johnson, 51, said. “The water kept rising and rising.”

a man sitting on a bed: Virginia Mosvold, 85, of Grand Bahama is recovering from a leg infection at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., after surviving Hurricane Dorian. Mosvold, her daughter and son-in-law rode out the storm on the east end of Grand Bahama where their home and farm were destroyed by the hurricane.© Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS Virginia Mosvold, 85, of Grand Bahama is recovering from a leg infection at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., after surviving Hurricane Dorian. Mosvold, her daughter and son-in-law rode out the storm on the east end of Grand Bahama where their home and farm were destroyed by the hurricane.

Johnson and her husband George broke through the drywall of the ceiling and climbed into rafters of the home in Freeport as water poured in. George tried to bring Mosvold up to the rafters in the attic with them, but couldn’t hoist up the elderly woman.

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“We prepared as best we could but never in a million years did we think we’d have flooding like that,” Johnson said.

When the sounds of the storm silenced and the water receded enough for Sissel and George to come down safely, they placed Mosvold in a stable chair.

Without cell power or electricity, George pulled siding off the house and scribbled HELP on it when spotting Coast Guard helicopters flying above. Johnson said about two feet of water remained in her home.

“We are very thankful our roof stayed on,” Johnson said. “We had pine trees and furniture floating in and out of the house with the current.”

Outside their home, their entire farm, formerly a tourist destination on the east end of Grand Bahama, was destroyed. The Johnsons had operated Ol’Freedom Farm for 10 years and had accumulated goats, donkeys, horses, chickens and peacocks. Hundreds of animals had drowned, along with the longtime 41-year-old employee who tended to them.

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“By our barn area there had to be 20 feet of storm surge when you see the marks,” Johnson said.

With rescue workers stymied by the debris of destroyed structures, friends lifted Mosvold in her lounger into an all-wheel truck and took her to the Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport, which was still operating on generator with intermittent power and no running water.

A few days later, the Johnsons and Mosvold flew on an air ambulance to South Florida.

“Her kidneys were failing. She was dehydrated. She was in and out of consciousness,” Johnson said.

Dr. Lisa Mattam at Memorial Regional Hospital said Mosvold arrived with severe infection in her lower legs from her extended time in ocean water, which initially was antibiotic resistant. She also had had pneumonia and fluid in her lungs.

Because her hearing aid had floated away in the water, Mosvold had difficulty hearing and communicating with the medical staff. Nine days after she arrived, Mosvold has made some improvement. She now is on only two antibiotics instead of four and communicates with staff using a special hearing device they got her.

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“Hopefully she will be able to overcome her challenges,” Johnson said. “She’s getting the best care she can get right now.”

Johnson, who grew up in the Bahamas, said she and her husband are staying with friends in South Florida, concentrating their attention on restoring her mother’s health. “We lost our farm. We lost an employee. We lost everything. Our house. Hundreds of animals. Everything. Right now we are taking it day by day.”

More than 3,900 people from the Bahamas have evacuated in the wake of Hurricane Dorian’s devastation, and many more are waiting to leave. At the same time, emergency workers are recovering more bodies in the debris. South Florida has shown the Bahamas an outpouring of support.

George will make a trip back to Freeport next week to assess the damage in his community. But the Johnsons are still unsure whether they will return or rebuild. “It’s a decision we have to think about,” Sissel said. “At this point my mom is our major concern and we’ll go from there.”

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©2019 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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