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Long-Time Carpenter Recovers after 25-Foot Fall off Ladder

Long-Time Carpenter Recovers after 25-Foot Fall off Ladder

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Juan Sanchez loves remodeling houses and has worked 34 years as a carpenter with no accidents. So what happened to him in May 2014 was quite unusual.

“This one made up for my years without an accident,” he says.

It was a Sunday afternoon and he was painting the outside of a house. To finish the project, he climbed up a 25-foot ladder. From there, he slipped and he fell onto the concrete. He knew he was hurt, but he couldn’t feel the pain, so he didn’t know the extent of his injuries.

His helper picked him up, got him into his truck and, with Sanchez navigating, drove to the north side of Houston to meet his wife, who would drive him to Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital.

“Everything happened quickly,” he recalls. “I got fast treatment, X-rays and then they took me into surgery.”

Sanchez’s left leg was broken in three places, at the knee and two other spots above it. He’s had four surgeries and expects another. Doctors implanted a metal rod, and subsequently removed it. He’s had physical therapy and will have more after his final operation.

On May 24, he reunited with other patients at Harris Health’s annual Trauma Survivors Celebration. The event recognizes the remarkable stories of triumph and recovery of patients treated at Ben Taub and Lyndon B. Johnson hospitals, sites of Level 1 and Level 3 trauma centers, respectively. The celebration is held in May to coincide with National Trauma Awareness Month.

Sanchez currently uses a walker to keep his weight off the leg and looks forward to a full recovery. He’s determined to make it happen and diligently follows his rehab sessions.

At home, he keeps busy by walking to a nearby store, visiting with his four children and completing chores that are accessible with a walker. He’s eager to work again to relieve his wife, a welder, of some of the family’s financial responsibility.

“It’s hard not to work,” he says. “I’m not ready to retire. I’m only 56. I expect to work another 10 years, no problem, but no more tall ladders.”

Of his care at LBJ Hospital, he says, “They paid attention to me and gave me quick, full service. They took care of everything I needed and explained everything to me. I’d recommend the hospital and my doctors to anyone.”

Lyndon B. Johnson and Ben Taub hospitals are vital parts of the Houston/Harris County emergency response system. The hospitals are staffed by renowned medical experts from The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and Baylor College of Medicine, respectively. Both facilities combine to treat nearly 172,000 emergency patient visits and trauma cases annually.

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