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Lifting Accident Leads to Miraculous Survival

Terry Warpoole suffered a catastrophic injury when the barbell he was using rolled off his hands, crushing his throat. Terry then had to travel over an hour by ambulance to the nearest hospital capable of conducting specialized emergency ... Read Transcript

At about 6:30, 7 o'clock, I'd been trying to go to the gym

before I would work.

But I decided that morning I was going

to see just how strong I was.

And I was by myself.

And I got to about 205.

And I was holding what they call suicide grip.

That is whenever you don't wrap your thumb around the bar.

It just lays on your hand.

But the moment that I picked that bar up--

and I remember that it had a little bow in it.

That bow was in the bottom.

And as soon as I picked it up off the rack,

it flipped out of my hand.

Because my thumb was not wrapped around that bar, when

it flipped, it was coming straight down from the top

of the rack to my neck.

And oh, man.

I remember it landed on my neck.

And instantly, I knew that I was in trouble.

I remember it sitting on my neck.

And I'm looking around, not knowing what to do.

Then I remember I didn't have the clip.

So I just dumped the weight-- so on one side

then the bar flipped back over to the other side.

And I remember sitting up.

And as soon as I sat up, blood started coming out of my mouth.

I could actually feel my neck puffing in and out.

And I remember saying the words, in the name of Jesus,

I shall live, and I shall not die.

I go to the front of the gym, and the lady that runs the gym

is sitting there.

And as soon as she'd seen me-- she'd

seen my neck because it turned black and blue instantly.

She calls 911 immediately.

When the ambulance got there, they get on the phone.

They call Life Flight.

And for some reason, Life Flight cannot come get me.

The only logical place to take me

was right here in my hometown hospital with the Chapel Hill.

And from where we were at, it was about an hour.

When Mr. Warpoole presented to UNC Hospital,

he came in as a trauma red alert,

which is essentially the highest acuity trauma that we have.

Every time he took a breath, his neck

would pop out like this.

It's kind of like a bullfrog, like vroo.

DR. THORP: I knew that we needed to go from the trauma bay

to the operating room.

WARPOOLE: They'd given me the medicine to put me to sleep.

I could see the lights coming down the hallway.

And they were cutting my neck open as we were talking.

They cut me from here, and they cut me across here.

And I was talking to them while they were cutting me open.

I remember that doctor was like, don't talk.

DR. ZANATION: When we first opened things up,

we very quickly realized that it was

a massively severe and complex injury.

And the first thing that we did was pull the trachea out

of the chest so that we could secure an airway.

This kind of surgery really has two parts.

One part is save the patient's life.

And the second part is repair the organ

that was damaged so that the patient can

be functional in the long term.

I think they had me sleeping for about two days,

so I didn't move.

I remember the doctor came in the room after he woke me up.

And he told me that it was impossible

that I was here today.

Medically, scientifically, I should have died.

They estimated it being about 410 pounds

of pressure because of the weight of the fall when it hit.

From what I understand that my voice

box was completely crushed and I shouldn't be able to talk.

I should've had brain damage.

I should have been paralyzed.

The fact of the matter is I wasn't supposed to live.

I should've died in 3 and 1/2 minutes

or however long a man can hold his breath.

Then when it took me an hour and a half or so

to actually have medical intervention

inside of the hospital--

I look at it now, and I think to myself

God was just showing off.

DR. EBERT: Some people would call it a miracle.

And I would too.

I think divine intervention was involved.

WARPOOLE: It should have been a year or two before I

was able to do anything.

And it wasn't three or four months.

I'm active and doing what I love to do, supporting my family,

able to go back to work.

It's hard to call it anything else other than miraculous.

WARPOOLE: I used to wonder if God could really do this

or would He really do that or you hear these stories of--

is that real?

And I don't question that anymore.

I don't question none of this because I'm here

today to tell you that I shouldn't be here today.

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