I know I’m a miracle.
The Road from Highway Disaster to Miracle Recovery
Andrew Ferrier was passing a semi on Interstate 69 when the semi suddenly turned left from the right-hand lane to access a highway turnaround. Ferrier hit the back of the trailer at 70 miles per hour.
Jessica Lane, a critical care paramedic, and Scott Hankinson, paramedic, from the Marshall Area Fire Fighters Ambulance Authority were the first to respond. Due to the extent of the damage, they worked for an hour to extricate Ferrier from his mangled Chevy Colorado. Ferrier was removed, placed on a backboard with a cervical collar, and had an intravenous (IV) line and oxygen started. He was a six on the Glascow Coma Score (GCS) and his vitals were stable.
Donald Brauning, RN and JoAnn Beecher, RN from West Michigan Air Care responded to provide critical care management and Ferrier was flown to Bronson’s Trauma and Emergency Center. During the flight, Ferrier was intubated to protect his airway. His GCS during transport was six. Upon arrival to Bronson’s Level I Trauma Center, the trauma team, led by James Kraatz, MD, jumped into action. Computed tomography (CT) scans revealed the extent of Ferrier’s injuries: traumatic brain injury, multiple skull fractures, rib fractures, a punctured lung, and serious lacerations to the spleen and liver. Bronson neurosurgeon Chris Sloffer, MD was consulted to manage the brain injuries. For more than three weeks, Ferrier’s family waited and wondered — would he survive and if he did, how well would his brain function? When doctors finally withdrew the medication that was keeping Ferrier unconscious, it took just eight hours, instead of the the usual two weeks, to wake up. Ferrier’s will to recover was strong. Then the hard work began. Ferrier was released from Bronson Methodist Hospital to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids for inpatient rehabilitation. After a month, he moved to Hope Network for another six weeks of intensive therapy. Andrew finally went home to Coldwater on July 26—more than three and a half months after another driver’s illegal turn dramatically changed his life. He does not remember anything about the accident or his hospitalization. He only knows what his family has shared. “I know I’m a miracle,” Ferrier says. He adds that he is grateful to the dozens of people who helped him along his journey from catastrophe to a full and active life. Ferrier goes to outpatient rehabilitation several times a week and he’s back to work part time as a traveling service technician. He’s especially enjoying being with his family again.