By Liana Jacob
MEET the man who had BOTH LEGS and his PENIS amputated after suffering a horrific crash caused by drink-driving that resulted in his truck landing on top of him.
In April 2016, former rhino liner installer, Joseph Green (34), from Indiana, USA, had decided to go for dinner and a couple of beers with his mum and brother after he finished a long shift at work. He then was heading home but decided to stop off at a bar on the way.
After a few drinks, he drove home, drunk and exhausted from his 20-hour-day at 2am the next morning. Ahead of him was a sharp turn in the road, as Joe began drifting off at the wheel, his foot slammed on the gas pedal and he lost control of his truck and couldn’t make the curved turn.
He then fishtailed into a boulder on the road in front of him which sent his truck flipping out of control at 80 miles per hour. Joe was thrown out of the truck and landed on the ground, breaking his left shoulder, sternum, ribs, tailbone and had a collapsed lung, as well as a displaced hip and left knee.
The moment he landed on the ground, his truck landed on top of him and an inferno ensued; resulting in third and fourth degree burns on half of his body from the waist down. Luckily a man who lived nearby appeared and pulled him out of the wreckage and he was taken to a local hospital.
He stayed in the hospital for four months and underwent 14 surgeries including; both of his legs and his penis had to be amputated due to his burns, he had skin grafts and prosthetic legs were fitted. It took him two years to learn how to walk on his prosthetic legs.
He is now an advocate for campaigns that encourage drivers not to drink-drive and to be safe on the roads.
“I had a lot of hobbies before my accident such as fishing, hunting, camping, etc. I was very outdoorsy. My accident changed all of that,” Joe said.
“I wrecked my truck and I was thrown out of my truck and ended up pinned underneath it while a fire ensued. I got third and fourth degree burns from the waist down.
“I also suffered multiple broken bones including my shoulder, sternum, ribs, and tailbone. I also had a collapsed lung.
“Life was extremely difficult after the accident. I was in the hospital for four months and had fourteen surgeries. I was heavily medicated but still experienced a lot of pain.
“I had multiple skin graft surgeries and they were really rough. Although my wounds have technically healed, every day is still a struggle.
“I still have surgeries to get and the new skin on my lower half will take years to build up strength. My legs were amputated so that’s the worst part, being stuck in a chair all the time.
“My left shoulder is still broken, I have a supra pubic catheter because my penis was amputated due to burns.
“I haven’t come to terms with that yet. I don’t know if I ever will. It’s gone and although I can get a new penis surgically reconstructed, it won’t be the same.
“I won’t have feeling in it, but I will be able to urinate normally again and there are options for sexual function like making it erect on demand but like I said I still won’t have any feeling in it.
“Mentally things have been tough for me. I’ve lost a lot; not just my legs and penis but I lost my body’s ability to produce testosterone, so I have to take testosterone daily.
“I’ve lost my only vehicle, my house, my job, and I’ve lost a lot of personal property from improper storage and my storage unit being broken into a few months ago.
“My relationships with people have been pretty good overall. Almost everyone I know has been really supportive and I grew closer to my friends and family, especially at first.”
Despite being in good physical health, Joe is still recovering mentally from his ordeal and is grateful for his prosthetic legs that have helped him get back to doing what he loves, although he can only walk on his legs for about 30-45 minutes a day right now, using a wheelchair to get around.
Joe underwent 40 hours of surgery altogether.
“I’m still in the recovery process. I feel better month by month. Weaning myself off a lot of the medications I was on has helped tremendously and I’m in a pain programme that has made the transition off of pain medications easy for me,” Joe said.
“My mum has been my biggest supporter in so many ways. I’d be a lot worse off without her. There have been a lot of people that helped in my recovery.
“With all my injuries I see a lot of specialists and medical professionals that have all had an impact with helping me to recover.
“My life is completely different. There are a million things I could say here but the main ones are having less freedom now; not having legs and dealing with the areas that were burned.
“I still get pressure sores and blisters fairly easy on my new skin, so I constantly have to look myself over. Getting around in a wheelchair can be a pain in the arse, I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to it.
“I can’t do the hobbies I enjoyed before my accident yet but I’m hoping that’ll change one day once I can walk around again.
“I can walk with my prosthetic legs but only for about thirty to forty-five-minutes-a-day right now but if I get skin breakdown or blisters I usually can’t walk at all for a few days.
“Everyone was shocked. I almost died, I should’ve died. The doctors can’t explain how I lived so it was rough on everyone, especially at first when they didn’t know if I’d live or not.
“It’s no dream living like this, but I try to make the most of it. I like motivating people, that helps me a lot mentally when people tell me they’re inspired or started working out again because they saw me doing it, it’s a good feeling.
“I still have my ups and downs and I still have surgeries to get through so my recovery is ongoing mentally and physically, but I hope my journey leads me to better place. I have to believe there’s a reason that I lived.”
Joe set up a Go Fund Me page in March to raise money for a vehicle to help him get around and to enable him to attend hospital appointments: https://www.gofundme.com/joegreen34