Sunday, 29 April 2018

Phillip Buffone was nearly cut in two when he was hit by a train in September. He's pictured here recovering at the home of his parents on Saturday, April 21, 2018.(HOWARD SIMMONS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
That’s how a doctor described Phillip Buffone after he fell off a Metro-North platform in Yonkers last year and was nearly cut in half by a commuter train.
Even then, he didn’t get it. After he woke up from a coma more than three weeks later, Buffone thought he’d be going home soon. Then the doctor showed him the picture.
“My doctors said, ‘You don’t understand,’” Buffone recalled. “You’ve been struck by a train.”
That would explain the photo of him with all his intestines and lower organs hanging outside his body.
Phillip Buffone needed six operations and 12 procedures before he could walk out of Jacobi Hospital on his own in November.(HOWARD SIMMONS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
“If I didn’t see my head on that body, I wouldn’t have believed it was me,” Buffone, 36, said.
Surprisingly, Buffone has looked at the picture over and over since the September incident.
Once would be enough for most people. But somehow, Buffone said, the picture of him looking like a package of ground beef has inspired him throughout his recovery — and made him all the more thankful for his parents, who have taken care of him, and his doctors who put him back together again.
Humpty Dumpty might have had a great fall, but he didn’t get hit by a train.
Doctors at Jacobi Hospital did the impossible by putting him back together following the horrific accident. (COURTESY NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS)
“It was like a military type of wound with overall tissue destruction,” said trauma surgeon Srinivas Reddy, whose team at Jacobi Hospital did the impossible. “He was really hit hard by this train.”
Buffone, of White Plains, was waiting for his train Sept. 25 at the Yonkers Metro-North station when he became dizzy and fell to the tracks.
He doesn’t remember what happened next.
When paramedics brought Buffone into Jacobi, his injuries were so severe that his body appeared to have been nearly severed in half.
Phillip Buffone photographed with some of his family, mother Lucille, dad Vincenzo and big brother Anthony. His family has cared for Buffone during his recovery.(HOWARD SIMMONS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
Life-threatening lacerations extended laterally from Buffone’s spine around to his belly button, exposing his intestines.
He also had significant damage to his colon and small bowel, and sustained multiple rib fractures and leg fractures, and nerve damage to his left arm.
But even with all that, closing him up was not the top priority.
First, doctors had to repair the internal damage and clean the organs that were exposed to dirt and bacteria.
Scars show grafts on his legs and surgery marks.(HOWARD SIMMONS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
“The train tracks are far from a sterile environment,” Reddy said. “I’m still amazed he’s alive.”
Six operations and 12 procedures later, Buffone walked out of Jacobi on his own in November.
“The doctors and nurses at Jacobi were great,” said Buffone, an audio engineer, who is recovering at home under the care of his parents. “It’s nothing short of a miracle.”
Buffone still has several surgeries scheduled, and his calendar is filled with rehab appointments. His father usually drives him. Buffone says he’s not ready to get back on the train.
“No, no, no sir,” Buffone said. “I know the best thing to do is jump right back on the horse. But it makes me nervous thinking about it.”
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