Mark Carmichael was heading home on a lonely stretch of road in rural Hastings, Florida, on a dark and stormy evening, March 13, 2016. Only a quarter of a mile from his house, his vehicle hit a slick spot in the road, causing him to lose control and drive straight into a telephone pole.
Carmichael was cut out of his crumpled car and rushed by ambulance to Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine, where doctors determined he needed care at a trauma center due to the severity of his injuries.
Once he was stable, Carmichael was taken to UF Health TraumaOne where specialists tended to extensive injuries on his ribs, sternum, back, neck and left leg. Not only was his left leg broken in two places, but his foot was partially severed.
Carmichael was discharged a week later after multiple surgeries. He was in a body cast and had screws to keep his left foot in place. After a few weeks, his foot developed an infection, and he returned to the hospital for further treatment. Several surgeries were performed to save his foot, including removing a toe and adding grafts to the top of his foot to help the skin regenerate and heal.
“I was in the hospital for a combined total of 28 days and had 21 surgeries,” Carmichael said. “Because of the severity of my neck, back and leg injuries, I was only given a 3% chance to ever walk again.”