March 11, 2019
Orange Park, FL - 20 year old Gilberto Lopez is now back home after recovering at Orange Park Medical Center following a motorcycle accident that changed his life. Lopez's motorcycle was struck by a vehicle only two miles from his home resulting in the loss of his right leg. Just one month later Lopez has made a miraculously quick recovery that is inspiring others.
On January 28th Lopez decided to make a quick run to the gas station near his home. It was an errand he would not return home from.
"It was so quick. I didn't even have time to close my eyes before impact. I woke up to a surgeon telling me I had a knee injury," said Lopez explaining the moments leading up to and following the accident.
After making the difficult decision to amputate his leg, Lopez thought he had a long road of recovery ahead of him. To his and the medical team at Orange Park Medical Center's surprise he spent just one short week in rehabilitation at Orange Park Medical Center's inpatient rehab center before returning home.
"When I had to make the decision I had to get into a state of mind that I had to get through this. I knew it was going to be really hard and I wasn't going to like it but I had to be strong. My mom and sisters were taking it worse than I was and I had to be strong for them."
He pushed through two weeks of recovery in the hospital and one week of therapy by reminding himself often that he was still going to accomplish his goals. "I have a lot of stuff I want to do. I'm going to push and I'm going to make my body do everything it used to do with a leg." By the end of his therapy Lopez was doing burpees and inspiring his therapists and patients around him.
Dr. Paul Baldwin, Orthopedic Surgeon at Orange Park Medical Center said, "It's our job to help patients make the most educated decision when they're going through such a traumatic time." He says the hospital connects patients facing amputation with past patients that have gone through the same thing to help them make the right decision for them and their families.
On March 26th Lopez begins the process of getting a prosthetic leg and additional rehabilitation to learn how to function with his new leg. In the future he wants to come back to Orange Park Medical Center and talk with patients facing the decision of amputation.
"Even with a prosthetic leg, one leg, or no legs, if you put your mind to it you can do everything you did before. It's possible. If I can do it they can do it," said Lopez.