A 22-year-old American man miraculously survived a potentially fatal injury, an atlanto-occipital dislocation, caused by a serious road accident. Sometimes called an ‘internal decapitation,’ this trauma could have been fatal if one of his friends had not forced him to remain motionless while waiting for help.
At just 22 years old Brock Meister has already defied death three times. At birth, the young American from Plymouth, Indiana was already facing the grim reaper. In respiratory arrest, he has rescued at the last minute only thanks to the cardiopulmonary resuscitation procedures administered by doctors.
As a teenager, Brock Meister struggled with brain cancer and underwent heavy chemotherapy and radiation therapy. But after recovering for a second time, the young man was struck hard once again.
On January 12th 2018, Brock Meister left a party a little worse for wear but still made the right decision by giving his car keys to a friend who had stayed sober. A precautionary measure that unfortunately did not allow him to avoid an accident.
An unavoidable accident
Brock Meister said to WNDU News. That the accident was something unpredictable and almost fatal.
I could have been drinking and driving, but we made the right decision and asked someone else to drive, but something still happened.
On this winter’s night, a sheet of ice violently got in the way of the group of friends. Going into an uncontrollable skid, the pickup in which they were travelling began to zigzag and eventually fell into a ditch.
Due to the severity of this collision, Brock Meister's head violently struck against the window of the vehicle, which then broke, leaving a gaping hole through which the young man was partially ejected. It was an unavoidable sequence of events which left little chance for the victim to escape unscathed. And yet…
‘My neck hurt but I wanted to get up’
‘I remember everything,’ said Brock Meister. ‘My head went through the window, I had my seatbelt on, but half my body went out the window. My cousin grabbed the back of my shirt and pulled me back in. I can remember the blood flowing down my face.’
With the energy of desperation, Brock Meister attempted to get out of the vehicle. ‘My neck was hurting me, but I wanted to get up, but luckily [my friend] held me back and would not let me get up before the emergency responders arrived,’ says the miraculous young man. And it was precisely this act that ended up saving his life.
Brock Meister was suffering from a severe cervical fracture, known as an ‘atlanto-occipital dislocation,’ without showing any of the symptoms. This injury is sometimes called an ‘internal decapitation’ and is ‘deadly in almost all cases,’ says neurosurgeon Kashif Shaikh from the Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana. This medical specialist confirmed the importance of the act made by the young man’s friend.
A true miracle
‘It is extremely rare to arrive at the hospital in time after suffering this type of injury,’
Kashif Shaikh detailed that injury consists of a rupture of the ligaments that keep the skull and spine in place. Although it is not an actual ‘decapitation,’ this trauma puts a strain on the spinal cord and the nerves that pass through it.
A slow return to everyday life
By implanting screws and metal rods, the doctors managed to realign and keep the bones and cervical joints of the young man in place. This was a life-saving procedure, after which Brock Meister was able to begin a long stretch of rehabilitation. After several months of patience, the young man, still undergoing therapy, managed to recover nearly half of his cervical mobility capacity.
This long road back was nevertheless punctuated by persistent pain, towards which Brock Meister shows a relentless optimism.
I was fighting for my life this time, and some days I feel like I'm still fighting. It was pretty scary at first, but I [have] more mobility than I thought I would have had, so that's good. I’m just relieved to be here, that's all that matters.