San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Family escorts injured Texas man home

Chad Swenson is on his way home. The 36-year-old Houston resident, who was knocked unconscious and remains in a coma after a rafting accident on Oct. 25, was flown home with his family Monday.

His wife and mother were able to get him on an ambulance that left San José at 9 a.m. The family has spent the past month in the intensive care unit at CIMA Hospital, trying to raise the $30,000 for the flight back to Houston (TT, Nov. 26). Last week, an anonymous donor came through with the money, according to a Houston television station, and doctors finally gave them the OK to fly.

Swenson was stuck by a tree limb while rafting Guanacaste’s Tenorio River in late October. The tour group was stopped to allow rafters to swim, when the branch fell from 30 feet and hit Swenson. An unconscious Swenson was strapped to the back of a raft with duct tape and hand-carried through jungle to the road.

It took 15 hours for medical crews to get Swenson to CIMA Hospital and, by the time they arrived, Swenson’s brain had swelled to the point they had to temporarily remove his forehead to let the inflammation subside. He underwent four surgeries in the past month.

“We have been blessed with the support of so many people,” Swenson’s mother Sue Marsh, told The Tico Times last week, “not only in Houston, but also here in Costa Rica.”

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