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Body cut in half

Montana teen has half his body amputated after forklift accident

I don't usually put articles on here about accidents which happen outside the UK but this teenager from Montana has suffered the most horrific injuries I have ever seen in a survivor and is a model of courageousness. His story is worth reading even if you have nothing to do with forklift trucks.

A teenager who had half of his body amputated after being crushed by a forklift truck has marked the three-year anniversary of the accident with an emotional video documenting his 'long journey' to recovery.  

Loren Schauers, 19, was driving the industrial truck across a bridge when he veered off, plummeted 50ft and found himself pinned to the ground beneath the massive vehicle in Great Falls, Montana, in September 27, 2019.

Loren, now 22, remained totally conscious the entire time - and looked down to see his right arm had exploded and everything below his hips was completely squashed. The young laborer made the brave decision to let medics perform hemicorperectomy surgery - where everything below his waist was amputated - to save his life.

Doctors told his devastated then-girlfriend Sabia Reiche, who is now his wife, he wouldn't survive, and she said goodbye to him six times, fearing he wouldn't live another day. But miraculously he pulled through and the couple have now shared a YouTube video showing a compilation of footage from over the past three years - including their wedding in February 2021.

Sabia also posted a series of pictures of Loren on Instagram to mark the three-year anniversary of the crash, writing: 'Three years, today, since we almost lost you forever. I love you. You're my best friend.' 

The couple, who have bought their own home since the accident and document their lives on YouTube, edited almost 13 hours of footage and cut it down into a 57-minute video, starting with video of Loren when he was receiving treatment in a rehab center after undergoing a hemicorporectomy.

They finished the video by saying: 'It has been a long and wild journey and we can't wait to see where else thinks life will take us and we hope we can continue taking you all along with us.' 

One person commented: 'I will never get over Loren’s positive and easy-going attitude. He’s just so chill about everything.' 

The YouTube video shows how Sabia dresses Loren and helps him into his wheelchair, while also showing how he went through rehab and physical therapy. 

'Everyone wants to see the world from Loren's perspective but nobody wants to be in Loren's position,' Sabia says in one clip. 

Sabia also said in one clip, from 2020, that the couple had moved into an apartment which meant they 'get a lot more us time'. 

And Loren revealed he got a new bionic arm. He said: 'It's a prosthetic arm, of course, but it gives you whole function in each individual digit. So I will be able to move each finger on its own.'

Loren was working as a laborer on a construction site during a bridge rehabilitation job in September 2019. He was driving a forklift over a highway bridge outside of Wilsal, Montana, when cars started illegally passing him in through the traffic lights. The single lane was dramatically narrowed and as one car passed him, Loren veered too close to the bridge edge and the ground crumbled beneath him.

He attempted to jump from the falling forklift but his leg got trapped by the seatbelt, swinging him from the machinery as it plummeted 50ft down a steep hill. The forklift rolled three times down the hill before Loren hit the ground at the bottom of the hill and the forklift landed on top of him, crushing his body.

Loren said in one video: 'As the edge of the bridge collapsed and the forklift started to tip up, I unbuckled my seatbelt and went to jump out. 'I now know that was the wrong idea but it was just fight or flight. 'The seatbelt ended up wrapping around my leg as I jumped out so I actually swung out instead and broke one of my ribs off the floorboard of the forklift.

'I tried staying on top of the forklift as much as I could as it rolled and then I was thrown from the forklift at the end of the hill once it finally landed. 'I was conscious the whole time. My eyes were wide open and I saw the forklift come down and land on my hips and my right forearm.

'I remember looking to my right with the forklift on top of my body and there was big old piece of muscle from my arm just lying on the ground next to me. It had just blown apart instantly from the impact.'

An air ambulance landed on the bridge and pulled Loren up the hill on a stretcher before flying to a hospital in Bozeman, Montana, where he met his loved ones.

Loren had completely lost his right forearm and hand in the accident and broken his right collarbone and shoulder. He suffered a pulmonary embolism - a blockage in his lung artery - and needed a breathing tube.

His lower body had been crushed in the accident and Loren made the brave decision to have hemicorperectomy surgery where everything below his waist was amputated.

One month after his accident, Loren was transferred to a hospital back in Montana so family could visit, because doctors still believed he would die. But his health started to improve at an incredible speed.

Doctors had believed that he would be in hospital for at least a year and a half but he stayed for three months, before four weeks rehab, and then he was home.

Loren has taught himself how to put on his 'bucket' prosthetic and get into his wheelchair without any help.

This article first appeared in the Mail On Line