Over the years our firm has dealt with numerous individuals who have been victims of traumatic brain injury. As is well known, these injuries are extraordinarily devastating to everyone involved. That is why a story out of Wisconsin yesterday caught my eye.
On July 5th of last year, crane operator Martin de Ridder suffered massive head injuries when he was working at a bridge building site on U.S. Highway 41 near Oshkosh. His crane collapsed and tipped on its side, killing another worker and throwing Mr. de Ridder from the cab.
The neurosurgeons that treated him at the emergency room were confronted with massive bleeding over the brain, and a patient that was progressing toward brain death. One neurosurgeon involved remarked that with 22 years of experience , “on a scale of one to ten, this was a 9.9.”
The story here however is that occasionally miracles happen. Seven months after the surgeries, the same neurosurgeon now can say that he has never seen such a dramatic recovery.
“He’s one in 10 million because he suffered a traumatic brain injury and has made such a full recovery,” he said. “He’s essentially 99% functional. The fact he’s alive is amazing. But the fact that he’s so functional is even more amazing. I would like to think it’s a miracle. Or the closest thing to a miracle a physician will ever see.” Said Dr. Wascher of the Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, WI.
The accident shouldn’t have happened. OSHA has cited Mr. de Ridder’s employer for one willful and five serious violations. But in this instance, the more important news is that while Mr. de Ridder may never be 100%, he is with his family and on his way back to doing what he enjoys and does best – operating cranes once again.