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April 21, 2011

Ind. paramedic walks again after nearly losing legs

The Indy Channel

INDIANAPOLIS — One year after a crash that nearly cost an Indianapolis paramedic his legs, he is walking again with a new purpose in life.

John Miller, a paramedic with 30 years experience, was driving home from teaching a trauma life support training course when he lost control of his truck on Interstate 65 and hit the median.

"I remember not being able to steer," he told 6News' Stacia Matthews one year to the day after the crash.

Despite wearing his seat belt, Miller was ejected from the truck, which then landed on his legs before rolling down a ramp.

Jason Burke stopped to help the bleeding and unconscious paramedic.

"I just started praying, 'God, please, if it is his time, then take him in your arms. Right now, give me what I can do to keep him alive,' and at that point, he just went, 'Uh' and took in a deep breath," Burke said.

Miller was taken by ambulance to Wishard Memorial Hospital, where he used to work.

Doctors treated him for multiple injuries, including friction burns on 85 percent of his body and two nearly severed legs.

"He had what we call a helawn fracture, a real bad fracture on both sides," said Dr. Brian Mullis, a trauma surgeon at Wishard.

Miller underwent three surgeries a day for seven straight weeks after the crash.

"I had 8,000 staples and 10,000 sutures put in and taken out to pull my skin back together," he said.

A year after the crash, Miller walks two miles a day without pain.

Although he can no longer work as a paramedic, Miller is using his experience on the job and as a crash survivor to help train other paramedics.

"I think it was a sign to stop what I was doing and use my experience, continue in the same filed, and use it in a much different level," he said.

Miller said he plans to go to medical school.

Reprinted with permission from The Indy Channel.