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Miracle Man

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WSVN -- Frank Santana: "I was driving home on a Sunday and I smashed into a tree in Coral Gables."

Frank Santana shouldn't be here to tell this story. The 39-year-old was behind the wheel of his truck when he suffered an epileptic seizure, blacked out and smashed head-on into a tree.

Frank Santana: "I really thought that I had gone to the other side."

Frank was left in a coma for weeks. The entire right side of his body was shattered.

Frank Santana: "I destroyed my clavicle. I destroyed all my right ribs. I destroyed my femur, my foot, my hand."

Doctors gave him little chance of survival. His devastated parents called in a priest to give him his last rites.

Frank Santana: "I had an internal brain hemorrhage. I punctured both of my lungs. I went into cardiac arrest and went into what they call code blue."

But three long excruciating months later, against all odds, Frank opened his eyes. He was a skeleton of the man he once was.

Frank Santana: "It was so bad I had lost 100 pounds."

When he came to Frank had lost more than weight.

Frank Santana; "I lost my memory probably back till 1985."

He didn't even remember the accident. His dad had to tell him what happened.

Frank Santana: "He told me I had been in the hospital a very long time. I couldn't believe it I was completely shocked."

But his battle was just beginning. He couldn't walk, sit up or even feed himself.

Frank Santana: "Imagine I'm 39-years-old and my father had to bathe me."

Surgeons had to re-construct Frank's body bones. Up and down his right side were replaced with titanium leaving Frank feeling like the bionic man.

Frank Santana: "It's awkward because anybody who has any titanium in their body the first thing they're going to deal with is the psychological aspect of it."

Katherine Sarduy: "His foot was deformed. When I first took off his shoe it didn't even resemble a normal foot."

It was up to physical therapist Katherine Sarduy to help Frank get back his life. In her years of experience, Katherine had never seen anyone in such bad shape.

Katherine Sarduy: "Frank was different because he was such a complex case."

For months Frank and Katherine fought through his injuries.

Frank Santana: "I don't want to give up on myself."

Doctors had told him he would never walk on his own again, but he beat the odds.

Katherine Sarduy: "I would tell him get those thoughts out of your mind and let's focus on what you can do."

Almost a year after the accident, Frank walked up to the tree that almost took his life.

Frank Santana: "Brings chills to me it's weird right? Well I kicked the tree's ass."

He knows he could have died that day but credits his family and his faith for pulling him through.

Frank Santana: "I see that I'm going to continually learn something new. I see life as a positive right now for me."

LYNN MARTINEZ: "More good news, Frank's memory is starting to come back. His goal is to one day live on his own again."


Coral Gables Hospital3100 Douglas RdCoral Gables, FL 33134Tel: (305) 441-6877www.coralgableshospital.com

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