McPherson boy in critical condition following bike accident


By Jessie Wagoner 


Hunter Short, 9, of McPherson went for a bike ride Wednesday evening. He took a fall while riding but didn’t appear injured. Now, just days later, Hunter is in critical condition at Children’s Mercy Hospital, fighting for his life. 

Kelly and Kenny Short, Hunter’s parents, are overwhelmed and heartbroken, still unsure how what seemed to be a minor incident escalated so quickly.

“We are so stumped by this; we have no idea how this could happen,” Kelly Short said. “Wednesday night, he fell off his bike. He got right up and never complained. He continued playing.”

Things began to change Thursday when Hunter complained it hurt to walk and couldn’t put pressure on his hip. The family made a trip to the emergency room, and x-rays were done, confirming no breaks or fractures. Hunter returned home, alternating taking Tylenol and Motrin for the pain, and had an appointment scheduled for a follow up with his doctor. Friday seemed to be a better day; Hunter was still having some pain but able to walk with assistance.

“I got home from work on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m., and he was laying on the couch gasping for air,” Kelly Short recalls. “I had him sit up, thinking it was the way he was laying on the couch, but it didn’t get better, so we headed right to the emergency room.”

Once at the emergency room, things moved quickly. Hunter was in extreme pain, so IVs were started and pain medication administered. Lab work was started, and before the Shorts had a chance to really grasp the situation, they were given bad news. 

“The nurse came in and said he was septic and they were flying him by life flight to Wesley right now,” Kelly said. “I was terrified.”

As Hunter was flown to Wichita, Kelly and Kenny Short began to make the drive. While Kenny drove, Kelly started making calls to the hospital. She wanted to know exactly where to go when they got there so she could be with Hunter immediately. She didn’t get the answer she expected. The hospital advised she and Kenny were not allowed to enter to be with Hunter until his COVID-19 test results came back, which wouldn’t be until Sunday morning. 

“The first night we couldn’t come in because of COVID-19, that’s their policy,” Kelly Short said. “Once they got him admitted, we video chatted, and he called three more times that night. He was upset and mad. He didn’t understand what was going on and why I could be there; he was pulling IVs out.”

Once the family had the all clear Sunday morning, they were reunited. Kenny is able to be with his wife and son during the day, and Kelly is able to stay at the hospital around the clock. Sunday morning, the family was given a fuller picture of the battle Hunter is facing. 

When he fell off his bike, there wasn’t an immediate sign of injury. However, a blood clot formed in Hunter’s groin, and he also developed an infection in his hip. As the infection spread, he became septic and also developed pneumonia. Their healthy, bike-riding little boy was critically ill and being scheduled for surgery. 

Hunter did have surgery Sunday to address the infection. Since surgery, he has remained on a ventilator and is sedated. Doctors are hopeful having a few days for his lungs to rest and recover will be helpful and he will be able to come off the ventilator in a few days. In order to treat the blood clot, Hunter needs to be given blood thinners. However, Monday morning his blood platelet levels were dangerously low. The blood thinners had to be stopped so he could receive a platelet transfusion. The family is waiting to see if his platelets rise enough to treat the blood clot.

Tuesday morning, Hunter’s condition deteriorated quickly. He was again loaded on a helicopter and life flighted to Children’s Mercy Hospital in the Kansas City area.

Doctors have told the family to expect for Hunter to be hospitalized for some time, most likely two weeks or longer. Kelly and Kenny are committed to being with their son and encouraging him along the way. Community members have started a donation campaign to help the family with expenses during this time. Both Kenny and Kelly are currently off work to be with Hunter and have additional travel and food expenses. Donations can be made at Peoples Bank and Trust in McPherson. When making a donation, simply tell the tellers the donation is to go into Kelly and Kenny Short’s account. Donations made by check should have “In care of Hunter” in the memo section.

“I don’t want to leave him,” Kelly Short said. “He is sedated, but he squeezes my hand, and I know he knows we are here.”