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Loren Schauers, 20, from Great Falls in Montana, was left without both his legs and his right forearm after plummeting 50ft in the accident in September 2019. The construction worker was driving a forklift on a bridge when he veered off the edge and fell before being crushed by the truck.
His family were faced with the devastating decision over whether to save the construction worker, which meant he would live without the lower part of his body.
But when Loren was able to speak for himself, his wife Sabia Reiche, 23, told how he looked the “doctors dead in the eye” and told them he didn’t care if he was “just a head on a plate”.
Sabia said surgeons told him “you’ll lose the lower half of your body or you may die in surgery”.
She added: “From that moment I knew he wasn’t going anywhere because he looked them dead in the eye and told them he didn’t care if he was just a head on a plate, they’re going to do the surgery and they’re going to keep him alive.
“That really brought a lot of hope for us, that he was a fighter, but we already knew that because he was still alive.”
Surgeons performed a procedure known as a hemicorporectomy, with everything below his waist amputated.
Loren’s genitalia was removed during the operation after his pelvis was completely crushed in the accident.
Sabia told The Daily Star: “We were all like super shocked and none of us knew how to react and none of us knew how Loren would react because he’s an 18 year old guy living life to the full.
“And so there were fears in our heads that he wouldn’t want this surgery or would rather die than lose half of his body.
“But his sister really fought hard to let him make that decision.”
Loren said it was a decision of “living or dying”.
He said: “I was conscious throughout everything so I actually watched as the forklift fell on top of me and crushed my body.
“Every medical professional I come across is pretty amazed by everything, especially with the story that comes along with my injuries.
“It wasn’t a hard choice to have half of my body amputated – it was basically a choice of living or dying.”
Since the accident, Sabia has been by Loren’s side throughout the ordeal, helping him with his recovery.
Her day to day tasks include changing his colostomy bags and showering him.
Doctors in the US feared Loren would not survive after the operation but he continues to make a good recovery.
He now regularly shares updates on YouTube with Sabia, who opened up about uncertainty over Loren’s life expectancy.
She said: “It’s touch-and-go, there’s no for sure.
“The average is about 11 years and the record-holder was 24 years.
“But none of them were in the same situation as Loren.
“If we go off of that we are hoping Loren has 40 plus years left with us.
“Because his case was so rare it’s hard to pinpoint.”
The couple are now appealing for donations to fund a new bionic arm for Loren.
The fundraiser says: “This fundraiser will help get me a Bionic Arm through Atom Limbs that will restore full sense of touch and movement of each digit in the hand.
“This would bring so much more to my life!
“Every dollar, penny, message that you guys send means so much to me!
“This fight has been a crazy one!
“I’m happy to say though that I have a million and one people backing me and rooting me on to keep fighting!
“I love and appreciate you all! Words don’t do any of you all justice!”
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