SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A City of Miami Police officer who nearly died in a crash met the man doctors credit with saving him during Kendall Regional Hospital’s 8th annual Trauma Survivors Day.
Nearly a dozen trauma survivors were honored at the hospital, Wednesday.
Officer Mario Gonzalez was involved in a February crash in West Miami-Dade while he was off-duty, where he nearly lost his life.
“This is my new life. This is my new normal,” Gonzalez said.
Officer Alexis Day LaSantos, a nearby officer, rushed to his rescue until first responders got there and took him to Kendall Regional.
Gonzalez would spend nearly 50 days fighting for his life with injuries so severe doctors were forced to amputate his legs.
“Every bone, artery, vein, nerve and muscle in his legs was shredded,” Dr. Mark McKenney said.
Three months after the near-fatal crash, Gonzalez met LaSantos, who doctors said used a tourniquet to stop his bleeding and save his life.
“Anybody can do it,” LaSantos said. “Anybody on the road can carry this stuff in their car. You never know when you’re gonna need it.”
“It was emotional to meet someone that was so courageous and so brave to get there quickly and to have the training and dedication to help you in that moment when it counts,” Gonzalez said.
At Memorial Regional Medical Center in Hollywood, more survivors were honored there as well.
“Oh, bless their souls,” trauma survivor Candy Moyer said. “Bless their souls. They’re amazing. Angels. They’re actually angels on Earth.”
Back at Kendall Regional, Gonzalez will begin his next chapter on his road to recovery.
Gonzalez said although he lost something important, he said he is still winning.
“I could look at it and say, ‘Oh, I’m missing my leg, but no, I have a knee,” Gonzalez said. “Sooner or later, I’m going to be able to do something with it, so I am grateful to be here.”
When asked what is next on his long road to recovery, Gonzalez said, “tons of physical therapy.”
He also hopes to drive again and return to the force someday.
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