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A Walking Miracle: Saving a Leg After a Devastating Car Accident

At age 17, Hernan Munoz-Kenny was an ambitious high school senior who aspired to play college football and eventually join the Marines. One day, on his way to football practice, Hernanís dreams turned into a nightmare, as his vehicle was struck by a drunk driver traveling at 70 miles per hour.

Hours later, Hernan awoke in a local trauma center to horrific injuries, pain, and threat of infection. The attending physician explained that if Hernan could not move his toes, he would lose his leg. With that, Hernan stared at his toes for hours, determined to make them move and concentrating on nothing else. Miraculously, they wiggled, but ever so slightly. With the extensive bone, ligament, and nerve damage caused by the accident, much of the bone structure was no longer there. Hernanís battle to get better was just beginning.

"My son's leg was to be amputated below the knee," recalled his mother, Lorena. "And, as an athlete, we were concerned about his mobility." At this point, what Hernan and his family needed was hope, and it came in the form of a referral to Dr. Roger Widmann, Chief of Pediatric Orthopedics at Hospital for Special Surgery.

Upon evaluation, Dr. Widmann proposed a series of operations that would allow Hernanís leg to be saved and regrown, using healthy bone, muscle and tissue from other parts of his body. Today, after multiple surgeries and many months of rehabilitation, Hernan has two strong legs, attends college, is back to driving and grateful to reclaim a normal life. "To me," says Lorena, "Hernan is a walking miracle."

Thanks to the expertise of Dr. Widmann and his team of health care professionals, Hospital for Special Surgery gave Hernan the future that a drunk driver almost took away.


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