NC: Amputation after hunting accident
After hunting accident, Mount Holly man not letting amputation slow him
June 06, 2011
Nearly a month after both of Darrell Rucker’s legs had been amputated
above the knee, he still didn’t realize it.
The same hunting accident that necessitated the life-changing surgery had
left the 67-year-old Mount Holly man in a coma for three and a half weeks.
Rucker soon joined a Mount Holly hunt club. On Oct. 8, 2009, he made
plans to go hunting with a friend on a 2,500-acre tract in South Carolina.
When his friend developed a stomach ache, the two decided that Rucker would
venture into the woods alone and the friend would join him after awhile when
he felt better.
Rucker drove into the wilderness and selected a tree to ascend. But as he
was climbing the trunk, the top part of the tree stand broke. The bottom
part caught his body, leaving him dangling 20 feet in the air by his legs,
upside down. He couldn’t get free.
The stomach ache that had delayed Rucker’s friend turned out to be
appendicitis, meaning no one would be coming behind him. Rucker had his cell
phone, but initially didn’t have a signal. So he was left to hang there. And
“I was in pain for several hours. Then I sort of got numb,” he said. “It
was getting dark. So I pulled the cell phone out of my bib overall pocket
again, and it had a signal.”
The precarious way in which Rucker was hanging for 24 hours prevented
blood from circulating beyond the tops of his legs. Physicians determined
amputation was the only option, because of the length of time that
circulation had been cut off.
Rucker suffered kidney damage as a result of his accident that has forced
him to go on dialysis. He has been on the kidney transplant list now for
three months and hopes someone will emerge to help him.
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