Girl, 7, 'Breaks' Kidney After Tripping Over Shoelaces

Sophia Angelini is recovering from an unusual injury.

ByABC News
March 10, 2015, 2:12 PM

— -- A California girl is recovering after a simple trip and fall left her a kidney so badly injured that one-third of the organ might be irreparably damaged, according to her father, Dominic Angelini.

Sophia Angelini, 7, was simply trying to go inside her school during lunch to get a jacket, when she tripped and fell.

“I tripped on my shoelace and fell on the curb and I hit my side on it,” Sophia told ABC station KGO-TV in San Francisco.

The seemingly minor fall resulted in serious consequences with Sophia needing to be hospitalized for eight days. After the fall, Sophia first went to the nurse at her Bay Area school and then was sent home with her mother. Sophia's said when his wife picked up Sophia, she realized immediately that she was sick.

"She was very pale and was vomiting," Angelini said of Sophia. But she "didn’t have a scratch on her or even a bruise."

Sophia ended up at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University, where doctors were able to find the source of Sophia's problem: an injured kidney that would require surgery.

“She had a lacerated kidney,” Angelini told ABC News. “When they showed us, the lower third [of the kidney] looks broken into pieces.”

Dr. Jonathan Ross, a pediatric urologist at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, said children can be at a higher risk for kidney injuries.

"What protects our kidneys is the [abdominal] muscles and fat," said Ross, who did not treat Sophia. "Kids don’t have nearly as much fat" or muscle.

Ross said one thing doctors might consider in cases similar to Sophia’s is whether there is any kind of underlying condition, such as a partial blockage to the kidney. Ross said if the urine can’t drain properly, because the kidney has a malformation, it can mean the organ is more prone to being damaged.

He cautioned, however, he did not know whether this was an issue in Sophia’s case.

“They would know based on the CT scan; it would definitely be apparent,” he said.

To fix Sophia's “broken” kidney, doctors were able to apply a stent connecting the bladder to the kidney and essentially repairing much of the damage, according to KGO. The stent helped remove liquid from around the injury and helped keep the important pathway open, so that it didn't close as part of the healing process.

Sophia's physician at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Dr. Hsi-Yang Wu, told KGO the stent would help keep any urine from surrounding the kidney as the organ healed.

Angelini said Sophia is now recovering at home and will likely not notice any lingering issues from her injury.

“It’s something [she] won’t notice,” Angelini said. “As she grows the kidney will grow a little bit.”