Published on September 19, 2022

Forrest General Hospital Trauma Team Saves Ellisville Woman and Her Baby

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (September 19, 2022) Nykia White of Ellisville walks with a slight limp and the vision in her right eye is not perfect. She’s thankful to even be alive.

In late November 2019, White, who was 7 months pregnant at the time, was caught in the crossfire when two men got into a shootout in the parking lot of a Moselle business where she worked, according to a Laurel newspaper report.

White said she was shot in the back of the head by accident when one of the men pulled a gun in self-defense after another weapon was drawn on him. She told one of men to put his gun down. He did, but not before the other person fired, accidentally hitting Nykia in the back of her head.

White’s mother, Davokiee Clayton, received a call there had been a shooting and her daughter had been taken to the Emergency Room of the local hospital. Clayton said those local doctors gave her little hope her daughter would survive the ordeal.

White was transported by ambulance to Forrest General Hospital’s Level II Trauma Center where she was met by a Trauma Team including neurosurgeon, Richard Clatterbuck, MD. “Dr. Clatterbuck told me when I arrived that Nykia wasn’t in good shape, but gave her a 40 percent chance of living,” Clayton remembers. He explained they were taking Nykia into emergency surgery to deliver the baby in order to try and save both mother and child. 

Massiah Amir White was born November 22 weighing 3 lbs. 2 ozs. It was one day before his mother’s 21st birthday.

Following delivery, White was rushed into surgery for a craniotomy. In the end, the bullet, which was lodged behind White’s right eye was left in place. Clayton said Dr. Clatterbuck told her it would do more damage to try and remove the bullet.

“He informed me it was a very rough surgery, and he’d never seen anybody overcome surgery like this before,” said Clayton. “And while he specializes in trauma, he told me it was a hard task for him, and he didn’t know how things would come out or if she would be able to remember anything. But thank God… she does.”

Clayton is quick to say that Dr. Clatterbuck, who she describes as an amazing doctor, did an awesome job taking care of her daughter, as did the entire Trauma team. “They did everything they could for Nykia and her baby,” Clayton said.

When she awoke after her surgery, Nykia said she didn’t know how, but she knew she had given birth. All I wanted was to see my child,” she said. Initially she could Facetime on her phone and see him, but still couldn’t hold him in person. “When I saw him, I knew I was really a mother. I had a twin, a mini-me.”

It was her mother who would eventually tell Nykia she had been shot in the head. “I didn’t believe her at first,” Nykia said.

White remained in Forrest General Hospital’s ICU for 49 days – from the shooting in November through January. Then, stayed in Rehab until February 25.

Nykia admits that therapy was hard. “Once upon a time, I really wanted to give up,” she said. “I couldn’t have done it by myself if not for the Forrest General therapy team’s help. They helped me with a lot of stuff – walking and moving my arms.” It was her son who kept her pushing forward. “I was thinking ahead to him walking across that stage at graduation. I wanted to see him be able to walk across that stage. I didn’t want to be in a wheelchair.”

Prior to being discharged, the therapists, nurses and others on the Rehab floor threw Nykia a surprise baby shower. “It was something she wasn’t expecting at all, but was amazing and so nice,” said Clayton. “They were trying to make it special for her. They also built a ramp at my house at no cost so Nykia could easily come in and out.”

These days, White, with the help of her mother and other family members, is running around after a rambunctious almost three year old who enjoys basketball and ice cream.

“It’s been kind of hard raising my son,” Nykia said. “But my family, they had my back.”

“The doctors and staff at Forrest General took mighty good care of me and my son,” she said. “That’s why I always wanted to go back and thank them, but that’s when COVID-19 happened. I really wanted to give them my biggest thank you because of their care.”

Clayton thanks the Forrest General staff, whether doctors, nurses or therapists for saving her daughter’s life. But it’s the Trauma team that she credits with being her daughter’s angels. “I sincerely thank Forrest General because they did an excellent job of taking care of Nykia and Massiah. Dr. Clatterbuck was an outstanding doctor, who did an awesome job, and the Trauma team was great.”

About FGH Level II Trauma Center
Forrest General Hospital’s Level II Trauma Center provides an immediate, organized response by a highly specialized team, 24/7, 365 days a year. Our Trauma Center is always staffed by board-certified trauma surgeons waiting for a need to arise. The Trauma Center is also staffed by in-house Emergency Physicians, Anesthesiologists, and Critical Care Physicians who are available 24-hours a day. Forrest General Hospital's Trauma Center provides 24-hour coverage for Neurosurgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Vascular Surgery, Maxillofacial Surgery, Oral Surgery, Otolaryngology, Urology, and Interventional Radiology services. Our Level II Trauma Center receives over 2,000 trauma visits per year.  We have developed an immediate, organized response to trauma patients in order to meet the needs at a moment’s notice.

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