Health Alert | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Medical Minute 2-2: Breakthrough Surgery

By: Vanessa Welch Email
By: Vanessa Welch Email

"I saw this car coming. He turned right in front of me. I remember going head over heels, tumbling, somersaulting and coming off the hood of his car," said John Miska. " It was just like somebody took a tarp from the bottom of my neck and just peeled it back and took
all the feeling from me."

John Miska was wrapping up a 22-mile bike ride when tragedy struck.
A disk between c-5 and c-6 smashed into John's spinal cord.

"He had 100 percent, total paralysis from the neck down. He lost all function. He couldn't move a muscle, not his arm, not a toe, not a flicker, nothing at all," said Scott Leary, M.D., Scripps Health Neurosurgeon La Jolla, CA.

Instead of waiting, neurosurgeon Scott Leary rushed him into the operating room at Scripps Memorial Hospital. In a very delicate and tedious surgery, he removed the disc rupture from where it was pinching his spinal cord, all the fragments, and fused the bones together. With each step, no one knew if John would be able to walk again.

Just hours after surgery, John had signs of movement in his hands and feet.

"I was given less than a 1 percent chance of a full recovery before surgery. Less than 1 percent chance of a full recovery," said John Miska.

Few days after surgery, John could stand up. 21 days later, he was walking.

"I had a neck brace on, and I walked out on my own," said John Miska.

One year later, almost to the day he entered rehab, John and the people who helped him walk again took to the streets in celebration.

"Every day, I wake up and check to see if I'm paralyzed and I'm not. Every day I wake up, and I thank God, and I say, 'This is another bonus day for me,'" said John Miska.


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