Running across inspirational personal injury stories can be difficult especially in cases of serious car, truck and motorcycle accidents that injure or maim their victims. As Maryland personal injury attorneys, I and my legal staff have met people who have had to suffer through weeks and months of medical treatment and corrective surgeries in the aftermath of passenger car and commercial trucking wrecks.
There is no manual or instruction booklet that can prepare a person to cope with a debilitating roadway collision; the injuries can sometimes be too extensive to leave any hope for a total recovery; yet, every once in a while, we read of an individual who has beaten the odds.
While these all-too-rare stories of near-miraculous recoveries from auto accidents are uplifting, they can also be instructive from the standpoint of understanding how a severe traffic collision can also be a life-altering event in anyone’s life. With spinal damage, closed-head trauma, ruptured internal organs and abdominal bleeding all being possible results of a high-speed car or truck crash, the odds can be stacked against a car wreck victim before he or she even reaches a shock trauma center.
As an injury lawyer, I know that just getting through the first critical days at a hospital following a bar roadway incident is a challenge for some people. Elderly patients clinging to life, as well as infants and toddlers fighting to survive a deadly car crash, can be some of the most at-risk patients in the intensive care unit of any hospital. Regardless of whether an accident happens in Carroll, Frederick, or Prince George’s County, or even in Washington, D.C., there are no guarantees of recovery.
But many do survive, and that’s a testament to modern medicine and the human spirit. According to news reports, an out-of-state man was critically injured in a December 2007 car accident to the point that doctors gave him a three-percent chance of survival. The aftermath of that terrible high-speed accident that sent John Ulsh to the trauma unit at a local hospital was horrendous.
Based on news reports, the family vehicle was literally a crumpled hulk when police and emergency crews arrived. The crash was caused, according to police reports, by another driver whose vehicle veered into the oncoming lane hitting Ulsh’s vehicle head-on. The man, his wife Tonia and their two children, James (then 4) and Katie (8 at the time), were on the way home from their daughter’s swim meet on a Saturday afternoon when the unimaginable happened.
Ulsh and his young son were both transported by helicopter to the hospital, whiles Tonia and her daughter were taken by ambulance to a hospital in Hagerstown, MD. Although the entire family survived that violent automobile accident, each had his or her own hurdles to overcome medically. John Ulsh was the worst off, yet his wife and daughter each had a number of broken bones. The couple’s young son also suffered injuries, such as broken bones and some internal injuries that had to be corrected with surgery.
Ulsh himself was given a three-percent chance of living, with nobody even suggesting that he might walk again on his own. Surprisingly, after apparently a great amount of frustration with his hospital rehab program, not to mention a reportedly unsustainable reliance on pain meds, Ulsh left the rehab program and moved to his local YMCA facility.
Following this move, Ulsh graduated from being wheelchair-bound to using a cane; then from a cane to a walker. Now, four years after that horrendous traffic wreck that nearly killed him, John Ulsh is walking on his own. The road has not been easy, according to news reports, as he has had to endure nearly 30 separate surgical procedures and a great deal of physical effort and determination; but apparently it has paid off for a man who was literally on the verge of death back in 2007.
Car accident left him with a 3% chance to live, PennLive.com, January 12, 2012