STANFORD — The first 48 hours were the hardest.
All Kinney Noe’s family could do was wait at the University of Kentucky hospital after a Lincoln County deer hunting accident resulted in a limb impaling his torso Sunday morning. Doctors performed emergency surgeries and monitored for ominous infections, keeping the Noe family on edge.
But at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, members began breathing a little easier. The most critical hours had passed.
“We feel really relieved and hopeful,” daughter Kandis Noe said. “I think we’re all just happy to be here with him.”
Kinney Noe, 56, suffered damage to his liver, lungs and diaphragm when he fell out of tree stand onto a limb that entered his lower abdomen and exited his upper ribs this weekend. Though he may suffer some chronic pain, doctors are now upbeat about his chances of recovery, daughter Kindra Witak said.
“Right now, we’re taking it day by day,” she said. “He has a long recovery process, but we’re really optimistic.”
Kinney Noe’s improvement may not have been possible without his strong will and Kandis Noe’s cool head.
He remained conscious after plummeting about 30 feet when a strap broke on his tree stand. Then he called Kandis Noe, 23, who was hunting with him about 7 a.m. Sunday near Pine Grove Road.
He struggled to say that he was hurt and it was bad, Kandis Noe recalled.
She immediately began searching for her father and called her mother, who contacted emergency medical services.
“I was having trouble finding him because it was so dark outside,” Kandis Noe said. “My biggest fear was not finding him alive.”
But she located her father about 15 minutes later; he was still awake and staying strong.
“I just lay there with him for about an hour and just held his hand,” Kandis Noe said.
Kinney Noe stayed conscious as he was driven out of the woods and flown to the hospital. He even remained lucid enough to send his family a message through EMS workers.
“He said, ‘Tell my family I love them,’” Kandis Noe said.
She planned to return the sentiment Tuesday when doctors woke up her father.