Community rallies around FDNY EMT, 29, struck by car while off duty
Since the September crash, Ashley Diaz continues to battle infections from her wounds, and underwent a partial amputation of her leg
By Kristin F. Dalton
Staten Island Advance
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — After more than a month in the hospital, FDNY EMT Ashley Diaz is still fighting to recover from traumatic injuries she sustained when she was hit by a car last month in New Dorp.
Kevin Diaz, Ashely’s brother, said although Ashley is in good spirits despite everything, she’s not out of the woods yet.
“The doctors keep telling us she’s in a holding pattern, it’s like one step forward and two steps back,” Diaz told the Advance/SILive.com.
“Right now she still has multiple infections that they’ve been treating for weeks. After two weeks in the hospital they had to open up her wounds due to the infections and it’s remained open as they’re trying to eliminate the infections,” he explained.
Until the infections have been resolved, Ashley, 29, cannot move forward with the next steps of the long recovery that’s ahead of her. Because of the severity of the infections, it’s not clear how long she will remain hospitalized.
Ashley, who was off-duty at the time of the crash, suffered catastrophic injuries to her right leg, necessitating its amputation from above the knee, as well as a broken femur, broken clavicle, broken scapula, and trauma to the mouth that resulted in many broken teeth that were “scattered everywhere” when an unlicensed woman who was allegedly “heavily impaired by fentanyl and boosters of fentanyl” plowed into her on Sept. 15.
She was initially placed into a medically induced coma for two weeks.
Despite her injuries, countless surgeries, and now infections, she’s fighting to recover so she can go home to her 4-year-old son and watch Marvel movies — something they enjoy doing together.
It’s been hard for Ashley’s son, Kevin said, but the family explained what’s going on with his mother in terms that he can understand.
Ashely has additional surgeries planned for the future once the infections are gone, and will need months of physical therapy to learn to ambulate on a prosthetic.
Unable to work — she was told she would no longer be able to work as an FDNY EMT due to the injuries she sustained — and with months of medical procedures ahead, Ashely is facing mounting medical bills. She will also need to modify her home to make it handicap-accessible.
Kevin set up a GoFundMe (https://www.gofundme.com/f/425cc-ashleys-road-to-recovery) that within two days received more than $60,000 in donations. The family hopes to raise $250,000.
In the GoFundMe, Kevin relates the events of the crash, writing that "[w]ith just minutes to live, this woman [Ashley] who had dedicated her life to serve others was at the mercy of the response and service of her peers. Due to the remarkable response of the NYPD and the FDNY EMTs she was being treated within 2 minutes.
“Even in this critical traumatic moment, Ashley remained conscious and leaned on her training, literally instructing the first responding officers of her needs in order to keep her alive. The most critical treatment being the proper application of a tourniquet. Her only concern was to live another day for her son.”
He said the outpouring of love and support from their Staten Island community, as well as the FDNY, family, friends, and even strangers has been a blessing.
“It’s sad that it sometimes takes something like this, but it just shows how right the community is. The FDNY, all of her doctors, everybody has been amazing, and it’s been overwhelming and we’re just very grateful,” he said.
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