A man who turned into a ‘human fireball’ after being electrocuted by an 11,000-volt shock has been dubbed a medical miracle after doctors said he should never have survived his injuries.
Darren Harris from Manchester was exploring and collecting scrap from an abandoned steel mill in Wolverhampton when he came across a switchboard and electrical grid in November 2020.
Assuming they were turned off when the building was demolished, the 29-year-old scaffold put his hand on a copper bar and was instantly “catapulted” across the room, reports the Mirror.
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Miraculously, Darren regained consciousness and was able to signal a passing ambulance. He was transferred to the hospital and spent 27 days in a coma before waking up to the horror of what had happened.
Now, 18 months later, doctors have dubbed his case a medical miracle, after he survived third-degree burns to 47% of his body – which left exposed bone in both of his arms.
For several minutes, Darren said he was dead on the floor. He remembered the moment he came back to life and saw that his entire body was on fire. “I put my hand on the bar and my body was catapulted across the room,” he said.
“My life flashed before my eyes and I was dead for a few minutes. I don’t know what brought me back but I remember waking up and my whole body was on fire, I was a human fireball.
“I ran for my life and somehow managed to climb a 10 foot fence without knowing the damage that had already been done to my body. My forearms were completely debrided, I could see right down to the bone.
“My face was hanging like a flap and my windpipe was exposed. I was standing on the side of the road for a few minutes when an ambulance turned the corner. I threw myself in front of it and the next thing I remember is waking up 27 days later.”
Darren was transported to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where he was placed in an induced coma while doctors battled his injuries, including multiple organ failure and sepsis.
Specialists performed 23 surgeries, including skin grafts, a craniotomy to relieve pressure on the brain and a pioneering surgery to apply artificial skin, known as a Biodegradable Timer Matrix, to his burns. Darren claims that surgeons told him they had “never seen anything like it” in their 30-year career.
He said: “The doctors and nurses couldn’t believe, that I survived the initial injury, never mind the fact that I flagged down a passing ambulance and then survived the grueling surgeries. They told me I shouldn’t be here, I’m just not lucky to be alive, I’m one in a million.”
As a result of his burns, Darren was left without a nose or ears, and he also lost mobility in both of his hands, leaving him unable to work. Disfigured by his injuries, he struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts, but says he realized he had been given a “second chance”.
Now, he’s launched a GoFundMe to pay for a pioneering surgery to 3D print a live reconstruction of his ears using his stem cells. “I went through the worst pain in my entire life, I can’t even describe it, and I was in a terrible state,” he said.
“I’ve struggled to get out and socialize, I’m self-conscious about how I look and I thought about suicide during my recovery. But then I realized those surgeons didn’t put that much time on me and save my life for me to waste.
“I’ve been given a second chance at life and I’m grateful to be here. I want to tell my story and inspire people and show them that they can go through the hardest thing of their lives and still come out the other side.”
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