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Denver woman suffers stroke after hitting chin during scooter accident

Posted at 5:38 PM, Sep 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 08:06:35-04

DENVER -- A Denver woman is recovering in the hospital following a stroke as a result of a scooter accident.

"I would trade places with her in a second if I could, because I wish this never happened to her," Sam Olivas-Moritz said.

He and his wife Christa Moritz were celebrating his birthday on Sept. 18 and had tickets to the Westword Music Showcase in Denver.

They took scooters to get there, and some other friends took a Lyft ride.

"We didn't make it very far from my friend's house," he said.

Sam says there was a couple taking up the whole sidewalk near Speer Boulevard and Kalamath Street, so they tried to move around the pedestrians. Electric scooters are not permitted on sidewalks, per Denver law.

He was successful, but Christa had a bit of trouble.

"She crashed and the point of impact was her chin," he said.

Everything on the outside seemed fine apart from some bleeding and a chipped tooth. The couple returned to their friend's house before deciding to forego the scooters and take a Lyft to the venue.

What happened after they arrived at the venue is something Sam says he could've never predicted.

"She started slurring her speech. ... That's when we noticed that something was wrong. Then she basically started to lose her balance," Sam said.

Doctors say Christa had an ischemic stroke after suffering facial fractures from hitting her chin on the sidewalk. The impact tore an artery which caused a blood clot.

"They removed part of her skull in order to allow her brain to swell and not cause any damage within her head," Sam said.

Christa has right-side brain damage and weakness on the left side of her body, but Sam says she's improving every day.

She'll likely require another week in the ICU, an additional hospital stay and rehab.

"She's like the sweetest thing in the world, and I wish this never happened to her," Sam said.

Dr. Mark Montano, market medical director for CareNow Urgent Care Denver, says delayed reactions after falls can happen regardless of the person's age.

"Usually, we think of excessive bleeding after a fall like this and not the blood clotting, but the blood clotting can be a secondary response to that inflammation and swelling in the trauma," he said.

He recommends getting care as soon as you realize something is wrong, especially after a head injury.

In Christa's case, it's unclear whether that would've helped as she wasn't showing any immediate signs of a head injury.

Sam is now focused on making sure Christa gets better so they can get back to the life they've shared for the past decade.

"She's a ray of sunshine, a ray of literal sunshine," he said.

A GoFundMe created by Sam and Christa's close friends has raised more than $140,000. Their goal is $250,000 to help with additional medical expenses.