By Tim Eberly
A toddler who fractured her skull during an accident in the bleachers at the Havre Ice Dome Monday night will be released today from a Great Falls hospital.
Hailli Hulett, 2 and a half years old, of Kremlin , suffered a fractured right eye orbit after she tripped while playing on the bleachers and fell 8 feet to the ground. The right front part of Hailli's head landed hard on the cement floor, said her mother, Wendi Hulett.
Hailli's right eye is swollen shut. Also, the optic nerve near her right eye is damaged.
"We've been stressed," Wendi said. "She could have lost her sight in that one eye. We're really relieved that it didn't end up being anything long-term or horrible."
Emergency medical personnel transported Hailli, who was accompanied by her parents, to Northern Montana Hospital. After she underwent several tests, she was driven by a Havre ambulance to Benefis Health Care in Great Falls.
Patrick Hulett, Wendi's husband and Hailli's father, is an assistant coach on a youth hockey team, the Havre Termites, which had been practicing that night. Hailli's older brother, 3-year-old Kole, is a member of the Termites and was just finishing practice at the time of his sister's accident.
When Hailli arrived at midnight Tuesday, doctors placed her in the intensive care unit for precautionary measures.
"They just wanted to watch her because she is so young," Wendi, 27, said.
Since then, Hailli has been in the pediatric ward. Though the fear has passed, doctors originally informed Wendi and Patrick that the sight in Hailli's right eye may have been lost or damaged.
"She broke the optic nerve right next to her eye and they were afraid the swelling would damage her eye," Wendi said.
As for the patient, her tears have subsided, replaced by curiousity. "She keeps saying, I want to look in a mirror at my black eye,'" Wendi said. "She doesn't even act like anything happened."
Hailli is the second-youngest of the Huletts' five children. The other siblings Chazley, 9, Erin, 7, Kole, 3 and 9-month-old Hannah have been staying with their grandparents because the Huletts remained in Great Falls with Hailli.
"We've called them two or three times a day to keep them updated," Wendi said.