A Fateful Fall: Whitney's Battle for Recovery and the Caregivers That Rose to Support Her Whitney Davis

For Whitney Davis, an energetic 38-year-old with a youthful zest for life, a staircase is a wave, the railing her surfboard. At least it was until a fateful Saturday in Palm Desert, Memorial Day Weekend 2023.

After a Saturday date night, with their 3-year-old son Luca in her family’s care, Whitney and her husband Kyle walked under the desert stars back to their hotel when they came upon a staircase. It descended to a landing platform and looped around in the opposite direction to the ground below. 

Kyle walked down the stairs while Whitney playfully hopped on the stair railing and began her ride to the landing below. As she gained momentum, her balance suddenly betrayed her, sending her tumbling backward. With nothing to her back, she plummeted over 10 feet down to the unforgiving concrete steps below.

Kyle, unaware of Whitney’s fall, reached the landing. As he turned to walk down the second half of the staircase, he saw Whitney land with a bone-jarring crash, snapping her right arm humerus bone in half when it met the straight edge of a step. 

“I’m okay,” she gasped. “No, you’re not,” he contested, glaring at her contorted right arm and the broken bone threatening to rupture through her skin.

The ambulance rushed Whitney to the nearest emergency department. She floated in and out of consciousness as the shock and pain overtook her. After receiving initial emergency care and a temporary splint, she would face three long, excruciatingly painful, sleepless nights before arriving at Adventist Health White Memorial for orthopedic treatment at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic led by arm and shoulder specialist John M. Itamura, MD. 

Whitney’s choice to receive care at Adventist Health White Memorial was an easy one. She and her mother, Crystal, a registered nurse, started their careers here — Crystal as a nurse in the emergency department in 1978 and Whitney as a marketing and communications intern in 2008. Therefore, she knew she would receive outstanding emotional, spiritual, and medical care. 

In 2020, after rising to become Regional Communication Director for Adventist Health Southern California, Whitney pivoted to a new career as a mindset coach. As a coach, she teaches her clients how to consciously move from stress-related catabolic energy states, associated with emotions like fear, anger, guilt, and hopelessness, to higher anabolic energy states associated with joy, intuition and creativity, which tap into one’s inner wisdom and drive clarity for decision-making and the ability to manifest your deepest desires. 

The timing of her accident was cruel, coming on the heels of growing her coaching practice and plans to expand her family. But unbeknownst to her, this ordeal would demand she become her own client and employ the mindset strategies she teaches to overcome it. 

On Tuesday, May 30, Whitney arrived at Adventist Health White Memorial in a wheelchair. Her forearm and right hand had bloated like an inflated plastic glove. Over the day, she received X-rays and a CT scan and was fitted for an arm brace that would cinch and align her bone over the following four months to aid the natural fusion process. However, it was the human connections Whitney felt that day that made her experience special.  

Whitney’s break was so severe that her X-ray tech reflexively exclaimed, “Oh no!” when he saw the first image. He then worked around her limited mobility to get the remaining images he needed. In the radiology waiting room, Chaplain Edgar Urbina and his wife prayed for Whitney, sensing her need for support. She ran into Dr. Brian Johnston, whom she’d known since childhood, who consoled her with a hug and kind words as she cried while recounting her injury.  

Conversely, she couldn’t help but laugh as she told the story of her fall to her friend Rikki Fulgoni, Director of Imaging Services, before her CT scan. But the pivotal moment came when Itamura said she wouldn’t need surgery, alleviating her fears. 

“To see those people that day wasn’t an accident,” Whitney said. “They were placed in my path when I needed them most to provide comfort, reassurance, prayer and laughter.”

The immediate recovery tested Whitney’s mental fortitude, particularly those first four weeks. While Percocet provided some pain relief, it conflicted with her coaching ethics, compelling her to pause her practice for the month of June. Fiercely independent, Whitney now depended on Kyle to do almost everything for her, including bathing her. She slept upright and couldn’t drive for nearly two months. She had to keep Luca at arm’s length for the risk that he might undo any fusion healing. “It was so hard for a toddler to understand why he couldn’t be close to his mom,” she painfully reflected.  

To help her endure, she used the power of visualization to meditate on the healing taking place inside her body. She practiced daily gratitude to stay positive. “It could have been so much worse. That fall could have broken my neck, paralyzed me or caused brain damage. In retrospect, I am lucky.” 

By mid-July, Whitney’s humerus bone began to fuse. In early October, her arm felt somewhat normal. Then, during her final check-up on February 7, Itamura gave her a clean bill of health, saying her humerus had healed excellently and was stronger than ever.  

“It’s amazing that we have this resource on campus here,” Whitney recalled. “Dr. I is the best at what he does. And yes, he still teases me, inquiring at each visit, ‘You haven’t been sliding down any rails, have you?’ Did I learn my lesson? Only time will tell. 

Emerging from this with newfound strength, Whitney is thriving as a mindset coach. Her challenges have deepened her capacity for empathy and understanding, equipping her to uplift others. “Life is meant to be enjoyed, not endured,” she said. ”Life happens for you, not to you.”  


Join Whitney Davis’ journey of healing at Adventist Health White Memorial with your own act of kindness. Your donation today provides immediate compassionate care to those in their moments of greatest need. Be the difference — give hope, give health. Donate now and become a part of our healing mission.

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