Survival Story: Isaiah

Former Army Combat Medic Wins the Fight for His Life

The last thing Isaiah remembers clearly from September 24, 2022, is leaving a restaurant and riding his motorcycle for about 10 minutes.

His memories are a bit spotty after that. He recalls moments … being found by people passing by, riding in an ambulance and overhearing a doctor talk about his dangerously low blood oxygen levels.

It turns out Isaiah had a serious accident, laying the bike down and sliding into a ditch. He broke every major bone in one arm. He broke a rib, and it punctured his lung. He broke 14 bones in his spine, cut his liver and lost a great deal of blood.

A stroke of luck

Fortunately, Isaiah’s accident took place not far from Elkhart General Hospital. The ambulance brought him straight to Elkhart’s trauma center.

He recalls laying on a bed in the emergency room. He was alert and able to speak at that point.

“I remember looking at my little brother and giving him the ‘hang loose’ sign, because he looked really worried,” Isaiah said.

Lifesaving trauma care

Looking back, the care Isaiah needed for his arm stands out the most, perhaps because the injuries were so visible.

“At one point, most of my bones were outside of my arm,” he said. “They ended up putting five plates and 20 screws in my arm.”

A military veteran, 25-year-old Isaiah served in the Army for four years, including 13 months in Iraq as a combat medic. He has a lot of medical knowledge. But being a patient is a different matter.

“It’s definitely eye-opening to be on the other side and receiving the help,” he said.

Isaiah is doing well and continuing his journey to healing. He’s regained 90% range of motion in his harm after plenty of physical therapy. Recently he got some especially good news.

“Thanks to the doctors, the trauma team and the nurses, I’m able to get back to work ahead of schedule,” he said.

Nationwide, only 20% of hospitals are truly equipped to treat patients with traumatic injuries. Having a trauma center close by, where he could receive fast, specialized care, made all the difference for Isaiah.

“The level 3 trauma center here in Elkhart saved my life,” he said.