8 months after being in a bizarre car-accident, Toddrick Thomas went back to UMC for a final check-up with the doctor who put his life back together.
It happened just after midnight on May 6, 2004. Toddrick Thomas was riding in the front seat. His friend, driving through a West Loop construction zone, when he missed the exit and ran into a bundle of rebars stacked on the side of the exit ramp. Two rebars pierced the car and one drove right through Toddrick's chin, leaving him impaled; until paramedics could figure out how to get him out of the car and into the ambulance. Ironically, he was rushed to the emergency room where his mother works, at UMC.
Sheridda Price says when she saw her son in the emergency room, "I set my hand on him and I said, 'God's gonna see you through this.' And he gave me the thumbs up."
This week, we found Sheridda at the hospital again, waiting for Toddrick. He has driving up from Dallas with his wife and little girl for a final check with Dr. Joehassin Cordero, the head and neck surgeon that the family credits with the miracle of putting Toddrick back together.
The rebar was an inch wide and more than 3 feet long. When it pierced Toddrick's chin, it pushed his jaw back into his head and broke out three teeth before it popped through the back of his neck. Incredibly, the rebar rested just millimeters from his spinal cord, and certain death.
Toddrick says he was so shocked by the trauma that he couldn't feel any pain. After the jaws of life freed him from the wreckage, he actually walked to the ambulance with the piece of rebar in his head. The first time he felt pain, Toddrick says, was when the firemen had to cut the rebar to make it a shorter stub. Toddrick could feel the heat of the torch they used behind his head.
Dr. Cordero says it was a long difficult effort for the firemen who spent 45 minutes to an hour making the bar shorter so it would be easier for surgeons to remove.
Today, Toddrick and his family call Dr. Cordero their miracle maker. He lead the surgical team that removed the rebar and put Toddrick's face, jaw, teeth and tongue back together.
At this long awaited check-up, Dr. Cordero asked Toddrick about his teeth and his jaw and his ability to swallow. The doctor said "Awesome!" when Toddrick said he has had no problems since his recovery.
Eight months later, there is little evidence of a scar. You can barely see where the rebar went into his chin or out the back of his neck. But Dr. Cordero says the memory of this very close call will last a lifetime.
"This is my pride," Dr. Cordero said. "Praise God he did so well. It's just amazing. It's just amazing."