CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — It’s a love story like no other: When a man was hit by a train just days before his wife was to give birth to their first daughter, it was a fight for survival.
This is the story of a rodeo cowboy, his will to survive and the decision between life and limb. It happened on September 15, 2014.
“It was a completely normal Monday Morning, I remember seeing him standing there at the dresser and I just said Kyle I love you so much,” said Samantha Hannon, wife of the man hit by a train while at work.
“Went into work and ended going out and helping a crew out on the rail,” said Kyle Hannon, the man hit by the train.
It was just over a year since Kyle and Samantha Hannon said, “I do.”
“I was walking down the track and he had sent the train down the track that I was walking down,” said Kyle.
Kyle never saw it coming.
“The train came up and hit me from behind, knocked be down, pinned me under the wheels with my legs,” said Kyle.
The train dragged Kyle more than 50 yards.
“When the train hopped up over me the guy running the train saw the rail car hop up, and when he saw it hop up he realized something wasn’t right,” said Kyle.
Kyle’s legs were mangled, his body rapidly losing blood.
“Everything was a split second, but as it was dragging me, it felt like hours,” said Kyle.
“When my parents first showed up at my back door, I definitely knew something was wrong and it was serious,” said Samantha.
Kyle was taken by med-flight to VCU Medical Center. During the flight, he feared the worse.
“Thinking that I wouldn’t get to see her again, thinking that I would never get to see my daughter,” said Kyle as he sat next to Samantha.
The daughter that he is talking about is his unborn daughter. At the time of the accident Samantha is supposed to be on bed rest, she’s pregnant, 38 weeks in.
“Going to the hospital, I thought he could be dead, when I walk in here they could tell me he’s dead,” said Samantha.
“We get a call that there is a sick patient coming and that he was under a train and was dragged,” said Dr. Paula Ferrada, the trauma doctor who cared for Kyle.
“The legs are mangled, he’s very very sick, he has an estimated mortality that is really high. We just need to save his life and stop the bleeding,” continued Ferrada.
As Dr. Ferrada’s team worked to stop the bleeding, she knew a decision had to be made.
“I needed to talk to the family because I knew that it’s devastating to have to cut somebody’s legs but it was a life and death situation and we needed to decide. And then I realized that Samantha was pregnant which made it an even more stressful situation,” said Dr. Ferrada.
“I think when you are on your way for the 30 minute drive to Richmond, that I actually believed that he was dead or that he was going to die. So to get in there and have her come in and say, ‘he’s alive he just doesn’t have his legs anymore’ it was a relief. I was so happy I was so grateful that he was alive,” said Samantha.
“Never a hard decision to decide between life and death, life always wins,” said Dr. Ferrada.
While one life still hung in the balance, another life, a new life was quickly on her way.
“The original plan was to have the baby at another hospital and I had to make the choice that obviously Kyle wasn’t going to be able to leave critical care and come with me,” said Samantha.
“That was the biggest thought going through my mind, am I going to be there for my daughter,” said Kyle.
“It came to me that it was important that we treated the family as a whole and since that moment start planning to get him well enough so he could see the birth of their first daughter and to get her in our health system so she could be here and they could be together for that key moment in their lives and in their family,” said Dr. Ferrada.
Thirteen short days after the accident, Samantha gave birth lying in a hospital bed right beside her cowboy. She delivered a healthy cowgirl.
“We were just bed to bed the whole time, side by side, he was there for the entire thing,” said Samantha.
“It meant the world to be there and I’ll never forget as long as I live the moment that they sat her down on my chest, I mean I burst into tears as soon as they did because I was just so happy that I was able to make it there, that I was there for that moment,” said Kyle.
And now, eight months later, Kyle is back to him old self. He’s even cutting grass with his prosthetic legs.
If you ask Kyle if he’s bitter or angry he will tell you not a chance.
“The fact that I am here now, I couldn’t feel more blessed. I couldn’t feel luckier to be here now. Me getting run over by the train was not the end of the line, this is my life now, I am not stuck to be this guy that people need to feel sorry for, there are so many opportunities out there to where I will be able to keep up with everyone,” said Kyle.
“There’s a real chance that he missed life, and the rest of the years that they have together. The fact that he’s alive and well and already recovering and walking and taking care of his daughter is near a miracle,” said Dr. Ferrada.