Medical Witnessing and causing a tramatic medical event

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I have never really talked about this and dont know where to to start. I have told my closest loved ones but I don't get much relief.
I have always been rather depressed and anxious from years of parental domestic violence, and mental abuse. My family is not healthy. But these are the event that define me today.

I am an identical twin sister and once upon a time we were very connected and dependant on each other. We had personality traits that depended on each other's. We had personal quirks, like wearing clothes that were similar but different, wanting to look alike as possible but still identifiably different, and choosing color schemes carefully; if she picked a purple outfit, I'd deliberately avoid purple and go for the pink outfit. We wanted to maintain our ecstatic of the twin theme, but embrace our differences. We had a system. And the level of empathy for each other runs deep.

We are as identical as we are different.
By our teenage years we craved independence and disassociation with one another, as we have not experienced what it means to be individuals. We shared a room our whole lives and suffered the constant oppression of being constantly compared to each other. No one knew us by our identiy, they knew us by the soul fact that we were twins. And this caused us to become irritable and distant. With the addition of mental abuse and physical domestic violence within the home, we had unhealthy coping mechanisms. Instead of being close enough to discuss our distress, we trusted and assumed that we already knew what each other were going through as twins. We often felt uncomfortable or akward at expressing our feelings and prospecting any mental support. and we often kept to ourselves.
So we fought. And to us fighting was a normal thing siblings did, especially twins. And many others couldn't relate or understand. We often heard the phrase "twins shouldn't fight like that." Weather its true or not, that happens to not be the case for us. After arguments or physical altercations it was normal to never address the event at all, our way of moving on was to never speak of any of it.

Maybe these are the reasons that lead up to my most traumatic memory of my sister.

One day my older brother moved out. And it was finally time to experience seperate rooms, seperate living spaces. Because my brother's room was small, I couldn't move all my things into the room right away, although me and ny sister longed to have immidiate change and individualism asap. I had to keep some of my belongings in my sister's room. And one day she had had it. She wanted her personal life to start. And so she packed up my things and tossed them out of the room. I wasn't ready to deal with processing so much of our history and downsizing just yet, and hadn't had the time for it, as I was now at a very busy age. I felt very disregarded and underappreciated.

So a fight broke out. And usually me and my sister have a basic level of force and strength we don't exceed, to avoid dangerous outcomes. But on that day things had changed too fast and violently, and I fought back to hard.

I pushed her. I had pushed her many times before but this time I had not limited myself. I went too far.

To protect herself as she feel she grabbed the head board of her bed, and fell at a twisting motion, and broke her arm. It wasn't a clean break, it was a spiral fracture that ran through her elbow. Many surgeons said if she hadn't held her own bones in place the way she did, her bones would have ripped and exited her flesh. Many surgeons would argue that they would have amputated her arm. And all surgeons agreed that it was not only the worst fracture they had ever seen, but the worst kind of fracture known the world.

Her face was alarming when it happened, and her frantic worry was devastating. She screamed "I think you broke my arm" and honestly, I did not believe her right away. She layed on the floor crying out for the next few seconds, which felt like hours, trying to get me to act. I regret freezing as I did.

Her scared crys and her shocked face are burned into my memory.I can't fathom the amount of pain and fear and suffering she endured.

I don't rember much after that except the details. My parents took her to the ER. And she waited in the waiting room for 3 hours holding her broken arm and crying in pain. When she finally got into emergency care, they had not perscribed adequate pain management. And for days she suffered before even setting her arm properly. She had to be sent to best surgeons known to Oregon, doctors that performed on professional athletes. And she suffered a highly invasive surgery that saved her from amputation.
She required the highest dose doctors could perscribe her without costing her life, every three hours, to diminish the unbearable pain. She was now drugged and delusional and still in constant Pain. She could not care for herself enough to even remember to take her medicine as instructed, or to even eat or use the bathroom. I spent days without sleep making sure she took her pain managment pills on time, so that she could stay ahead of the pain. I also had to aid her to eat or use the bathroom. And she couldn't sleep for any consecutive amount of time. She often woke up after only minutes of sleep. i had to stay awake to comfort her and care for her for several days and i honestly dont remeber how many days. My sleep deprivation was no sacrifice, compared to her suffering.

I was so upset with what I had done, in the begining i often redirected the blame onto my sister, because I couldn't handle the pressure of accepting responsibility. And my brother often took my side. I would tell her it was her fault too, that it was a mutual fight and we both deserve the blame. And my brother often took it farther, and blamed her entirely. Blamed her for breaking her own arm, blamed her for her potential opiate addiction, blamed her for my distress, and I let him do that. I couldn't yet take responsibility for it all. She suffered so much and we blamed her for it.

And she couldn't take it. She couldnt take being the bad guy when she was the one hurt and abused and left with scars. I should have been stronger for her, but I wasnt.
Not even a year later, my father suffered an accident as well.

My father unfortunately has a history of mental and physical abuse towards his family. And he suffers from alcohism dependence. I was very distant from my parents as they were often emotionally unavailable, my father most of all.

On day, maybe a couple months after my sister's surgery, he got really intoxicated. And began to preach his thoughts. He told me that it was my fault my sister got hurt, and that I should atone for it, and never receive forgivness. I don't disagree. I regret every telling my sister she is to blame at all. When I am the one who caused it.
He spent the night yelling at me, and I let him because I felt I deserved it. He threatened to hurt me to redeem my sister, to defend her. And if he tried to hit me, i would have not stopped him, I would have not called the police, I would have never reported it. I deserve to feel equivalent suffering to for the horrible trauama I gave my sister.
He was so livid. And beyond the level of intoxication I had grown to know.

That night he left the house, and didn't return ever the rest of the night. The next day, my mother frantically collects her belongings and screams through the house, to summon her children. And she broke out the news "your dad has been in a motorcycle accident."
My father doesn't rember the accident, and doesn't remember several days prior to the accident. Which means he doesn't remember yelling at me at all, as that occurred just the night before. And he can't get compensation for his accident, as they found alcohol in his system.

And we all rushed to the hospital. He had broken ribs and a broken leg and many other fractures. And he wasn't breathing and the doctors were ready to expect death. They discovered he had a collapsed lung, and they ended up treating it before his heart stopped. They then decided he was possibly save-able, but the hospital was unequiped for his injuries. They were forced to Life-Flight his unconscious body to Portland Oregon, home of the best doctors known to Oregon. And my mom followed the helicopter as fast as she could.

My dad suffered a lot but surgeons were able to provide him the opportunity for a full recovery. And he was on his way to almost complete rehabilitation, as if nothing ever happened. But unfortunately his leg never wanted to heal. And they discovered he contracted MRSA from the hospital. MRSA can theoretically be cleaned out, through antibiotics. And his body became fail. But the antibiotics never succeeded, and his leg never healed. They realized the MRSA had embedded into his leg bone, which is impossible to clean. And the only option they were left with, was to prevent it from spreading, and to amputate the leg. They started around his lower shin. And they tested for MRSA again, and the test came back positive, and were forced to amputate more of his leg. And that repeated several times. Now the length of his leg only reaches his upper thigh. MRSA can stay dormant for years inside the bone, and while its dormant, the tests will read negative. So we won't know if they successfully cut out all of the MRSA, or if it still exists and is just dormant. They wont know unit the test comes back positive again, and if that happens, they will be forced to continue amputation, even decades later.

These events happened over 5 years ago. And they still haunt my dreams and my daily life. Everyday I remember. Despite my memory missing a significant amount time and details, I still remember them happening like yesterday.



You didn't say if you were in therapy? If not it might be a good idea because that is a lot of crisis for anyone to have to cope with. pushed her. Yes. You were fighting with her. But your intention wasn't to cause this kind of an injury. It was an accident. feel guilty. But. It was an accident.

You didn't set out to harm her. There is a difference. This was a horrible situation but you are not entirely to blame. You may have set things in motion but the outcome was an accident. You didn't wake up that morning and say "today I will put my sister in the hospital"

You lost your temper and pushed her. That's the part you own. The rest? Nope. Not yours.

Still Standing

@Freida is correct, xSnowZx. And the coping skills in your dysfunctional family have added to your thinking you need to carry the blame. Yes, you had a part in the tussle that led to the unintentional injury of your Sis, but you have loaded an extra ton of bricks on yourself thinking you are fully to blame. Your Sis carries some of the responsibility, too, for the broken arm. And your Dad is responsible for his behavior that was negatively influenced by his drinking which led to poor judgment on his part. You are not responsible for his accident...period. I’m sorry that you are hurting so badly.


I’m sorry about the situation with your dad. It’s absolutely 100% not your fault, but it can still be pretty traumatic to experience that. Amputations are scary. A loved one going unconscious (for any reason) is scary. But not your fault. You have 0% accountability for that one.

As for your sister? I have a sister that I grew up very close to (2 other siblings, but I was inseparable from this one sister because of how close we were in age, and the fact people couldn’t tell us apart). We fought like rabid dogs at times. We fought with each other in a way that neither of us would fight with anyone else. The relationship is weird that way.

Let’s get this in perspective though. You and your sister were fighting with each other. It wasn’t all you (same way that it wasn’t all your sister). You pushed her (she’d been pushing you). She happened to break her arm. That? Is an accident.

That scenario? Happens every day of the week. Siblings fighting, one ending up with a broken bone (particularly arms, wrists, collar happens, you know?). That’s a really commonplace scenario. Like @Freida said, you didn’t set out to do that. In fact, you and your sister fought with each other on a regular basis. Someone ending up with a broken bone at some point? Not surprising. And in the household you grew up in? With alcoholism and violence - you’re allowed to cut yourself a break here. This scenario? Makes sense when you place it in context.

Yes, a spiral fracture through the elbow is a complex fracture - they’re a common consequence from falls where a person twists as they fall. Not easy to set and forget like some fractures.

But the doctors you’re citing have given you a bum steer, because bones breaking the skin in a fracture is super common, and not necessarily all that complex. Dramatic? sure. Medically the end of the earth? Nope. And in fact, there’s lots of different types of fractures that could have been much worse in the elbow.

If the bone had broken the skin? It’s still the unusual way she fell, and the spiral fracture that is the big deal with her recovery. And that’s not something you could have pulled off deliberately even if you wanted to.

Your sister? Will recover. Your relationship with your sister? Will only recover if you find a way to forgive yourself. Accidents happen, and this was an accident. You don’t need to be paying emotional penance for the rest of your life over a broken bone. You just don’t. It was an accident. You’re sorry, you went over and above to help her through her recovery, she’s okay’re allowed to forgive yourself. Accidents happen.


Welcome. I am sorry for all the things you have gone through. I agree with the others. You are certainly not to blame for what happened to your father. His drinking and his choices are. As far as what happened to your sister, yes, it's understandable you feel guilty. But siblings fight. And pushing happens and most times, it doesn't end up like it did for your sister. It sounds like a lot of bad luck.

But I am thinking you also feel bad for how you handled it after the fact? I get that. You blamed your sister and I can understand how bad that must feel. You were young and grew up in a family that didn't give you the tools to handle the situation. And there's a common inclination in people to blame the victim. How often have you heard of something terrible happening and people saying "Well, if she hadn't <fill in the blank>" Or "Well, if he had <fill in the blank>". It was a big, scary thing you weren't equipped to deal with.As far as freezing at the moment it happens. Again, a natural reaction. You weren't expecting her to get injured and that hadn't happened in the past. So you didn't comprehend at first. But you tried. You did a lot to help take care of your sister as she recovered. You stayed by her side.


I fractured my lower leg and the bone came through the skin. It was in a horse barn. A truck drove in and spooked the horse who broke my leg in several places, dislocated my foot, severed the tendon and trampled me. The people I worked with started laying blame, but there was no blame, it was an accident. It was an accident that your sister broke her arm, as others have said, it happens. It could have been you that broke your arm.

Your father was an accident waiting to happen. Anyone who drinks and drives is setting themselves up to hurt themselves or others. This is not your fault either. He did it.

I'm not adding anything new, I just want you to know that it's not your fault, and a therapist would help a lot.
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