Miracle Man Gives More of ‘Life’ After Dangerous Accident
Bobbie Brakefield felt his body wrap around the tank of his V-Twin Suzuki Intruder. He felt a pain so sharp, it took his breath away. His vision blurred as the weight of his body opened up the throttle and his bike carried him nearly a mile on Jones Mill Road coming into Pickens County. A van was parked in front of a yard sale where 50 people were standing, and as Bobbie careened across the road he struck the van and blacked out. He laid the bike down, sliding and grinding into the unforgiving asphalt. All it takes is a second, and it hits hard – the reality of how fragile life is.
Bobbie had been suffering from a painful kidney stone on that day eleven years ago, but he didn’t think there was any reason why he couldn’t drive home from his night shift at Duke Energy. It was true, he didn’t feel well. But he’d had kidney stones before. They were painful and eventually passed. This time, his pain led to an accident that severely damaged his body. Traffic lined up to help, and a former boy scout ran forward to make a tourniquet for the massive blood loss. The gathering crowd waited for a helicopter to land.
“They loaded me on the transporter where I was taken to Greenville Memorial Hospital, said fifty-eight-year old Bobbie Brakefield, a resident of Easley. “I later learned that I’d bled two streams across 183. All I could think about was hurting other people. I’d rather hurt myself than the people standing in the yard.”
Every moment counted, from the first responders to the emergency staff standing by at the hospital. Bobbie’s spleen had severed his small intestine, stomach, diaphragm and lungs, and was lodged next to his heart. Bile was found in his lungs, and he was in critical condition. He needed blood but he also needed vascular surgery. A vein from his leg helped make a new artery. His ribs and shoulder were broken and needed reconstruction.
“When I woke up after a long induced coma, they called me miracle boy,” said Bobbie. “My heart had been restarted three times, and doctors had been worried about how much oxygen had reached my brain.”
Altogether, Bobbie needed 64 pints of blood, a titanium plate with twelve screws, and his spleen was removed. He knew he could survive without his spleen, but what he didn’t know was that he could be an extremely valuable blood donor.
At any given moment about four percent of all the blood in our body is passing through the spleen, but it’s not an organ that’s vital for life. It serves as a blood filter and a storage place for blood and platelets. It filters out foreign particles and stores the platelets that we need when we have a serious wound.