Four States Living Magazine — December 2010
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The Gift Of Life
Jessica Allensworth

After A traumatic hunting accident 10 years Ago, glen scarborough is grateful for the many people who donate blood

When Glen Scarborough went hunting that Sunday morning on December 3, of 2000, he had no idea what kind of blessings were in store for him throughout the coming months and years in his life that would all stem from a hunting accident that he should not have lived through. Glen recalls the helicopter paramedic telling him later, “You were the deadest person I’ve ever come upon that lived.” But live Glen did, and he has made it a point to not take life for granted, and he encourages others by sharing his story.

On that Sunday, 10 years ago, Glen and several of his friends loaded up into two boats to go duck hunting. “There was a lot of rainfall the night before, and Milway Lake was 5-6 feet above normal lake level,” says Glen. Little did he know, that the high water level would ultimately save time and save his life.

The hunting group had two boats tied together.They had an “okay” day of hunting. Glen was preparing to head back in when all of a sudden, a 12 gauge shotgun fell and discharged into his left leg severing his femur bone and artery.

During that time, Glen remained alert enough to tell his friend, Scott Sanders, to make a tourniquet and put it on his leg to keep him from bleeding out. “I lost all senses but my hearing,” says Glen.“I felt the pain for a few minutes. I remember the blood like a warm flow of water [down my leg].” He explains that his hunting buddies thought it was only a flesh wound because it was so cold, and Glen was wearing a lot of clothing. They had no idea how serious the injury really was. “I could feel myself dying,” he says. “I was taking in huge amounts of air, and it would be gone in seconds.”

The location where the accident happened would have normally taken around 35 minutes to reach, but that day, because of the high water levels, it only took 5-10 minutes to make it back to shore. One of his hunting buddies called 911. By The time the ambulance arrived, Glen had lost half of the blood in his body.

A Lifenet Air helicopter met the ambulance at Ashdown Junior High School where Glen was flown to Wadley Hospital, the closest trauma unit.He had lost so much blood that when they opened the ambulance door to put him in the helicopter, blood ran out the back door.

Glen made it to the hospital within his golden hour. He was shot at 11:15 and made it to the hospital at 12:13. He died more than once in the helicopter on the way to Wadley, but the paramedics were able to revive him. Once at the hospital, the trauma team performed a thoracotomy; a procedure where the patient’s chest is opened up and a member of the medical staff actually uses their hand to squeeze the heart. The first time they squeezed Glen’s heart, it did not expand back out because there was not enough blood in his body. Quickly, the medical staff pumped fluids into his body and tried again.This time, Glen’s heart did respond. The trauma surgeon said at that point, Glen only had a 6% chance of survival. Glen said he remembers the surgeon saying, “[A thoracotomy is a procedure] you do on people who are dead, and is performed just to try [to save a life.]”

Glen went through a 12-hour surgery to repair his femur artery, but because of the massive amount of blood loss and dying twice in surgery, there was no way to put him in surgery long enough to repair his leg. His family made the decision to amputate.The trauma surgeon felt there was no way he would survive. Glen had used 48 units of blood in the first 12 hours of his accident.

When moved to ICU, Glen was in a medically induced coma. He went from the medical staff not thinking he was going to live, to not thinking he was going to wake from the coma, to if he were to wake up, he would be brain damaged and not function normally. On Christmas Eve of 2000, Glen did wake up, but none of those fears became realities.He recovered so rapidly that he was able to go home on January 10, 2001.

Blessings were so dominant through Glen’s whole traumatic experience. He recounts them, “The EMTs said that was the best field tourniquet they’d ever seen. The high water level allowed me to get out fast.” The helicopter had been called out to transport someone from Hope and just happened to be over the Red River when they were called to pick Glen up, saving them 10-15 minutes. He was able to be treated by a Level 2 trauma unit at Wadley.He had a 1 in 10 million chance of survival, and he is still here to enjoy his family and friends with no phantom leg pains that normally go along with an amputation. He also went through rehab and was back at work in March of 2001.

Friends and people in the community who remained anonymous bought his children gifts for Christmas, came to the hospital to offer their services, to offer money, and to offer prayer. The day after his accident, friends and family lined up outside the blood bank on College Drive to donate for Glen. Without the blood that was stored at the blood bank, Glen would have never survived.

Since his accident, Glen is a huge advocate for donating blood and works with LifeShare Blood Center in Texarkana. “Glen is gracious enough to speak to increase awareness in our community,” says Patricia with LifeShare Blood Center. “He has brought in so many new donors.”

LifeShare Blood Center is holding a blood drive on Glen’s behalf, December 3 from 9-6 and December 4 from 9-2, in honor of the 10-year anniversary of Glen’s accident. “Come out and say hello to Glen and donate on his behalf,” says Patricia. LifeShare will give a free gift and refreshments to all who come out and donate. Glen and Patricia want to make the community aware that you can’t wait until something happens to give blood. “Be sure and give before [a trauma occurs],” says Patricia. A person can donate whole blood every 56 days. It’s never too late to start. Glen had never given blood prior to his accident, but his outlook changed drastically after someone else’s blood donations saved his life.Without the blood that was in storage, Glen would not have survived.

Glen goes all over the area sharing his amazing miraculous story with groups. With the Boy Scouts, he tells about first aid and gun safety. He shares his story with men’s church groups, telling about the many miracles of God he has experience. He shares with hospital nursing groups about the medical end of his accident. “I’ve learned not to take things for granted,” says Glen. “I value life more, and I’m not as scared of dying.” He has continued support from his coworkers at Southwest Arkansas Telephone Coop (where he has worked since high school) and through his family. “Without support, I hate to think how difficult it would be,” says Glen. He strives for normalcy every day. He has even taken up dog training as a hobby. “I’m thankful for all of my friends and family,” says Glen. His experience showed him that there are still people that still do good things.