A Poway teenager reunited with the first responders who helped save his life after he was seriously injured while attempting a trampoline stunt in June.
Drew Merrifield, 14, broke two vertebrae in his neck and bruised his spinal cord. He’s been recovering at Rady Children’s Hospital for nearly seven weeks -- Those seven weeks included two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit and almost five weeks in the Acute Care Unit where he had to learn to walk on his own again.
Merrifield was discharged from the hospital Friday and reunited with Poway medics, who responded to the call, at the Poway fire house Monday.
“These are the guys that helped you out that day,” said Poway Battalion Chief Rodney Ortiz as he introduced Merrifield to his heroes; Fire Captain/Paramedic Mike Geddes, Engineer/Paramedic Geoffery Kamantigue, Firefighter/Paramedic Joe McNally, Firefighter/Paramedic Phil Watson, and Firefighter/Paramedic Paul Trakimas. Another medic who answered the call wasn't able to join them Monday morning.
“Thank you for being here. Thank you for saving his life. All three of us were watching him (Drew) turn purple and we heard you guys come from here, we heard the sirens, because we’re not far away, and you guys got there so quick and you saved his life, bottom line. He would of died without you guys,” said Drew’s dad, Tim Merrifield.
Merrifield was on the operating table within three hours of the accident and the pressure was off his spinal cord within four hours., according to his dad.
“They (doctors) don’t really know why he’s had such a great recovery. One of the surgeons, he believes the fact that he (Drew) got down there so quick, and was in surgery so quick, probably had a lot to do with it,” explained Tim.
Merrifield remembered everything from the accident except for a few minutes during the ride to Rady Children's Hospital.
"I’m just thankful, because basically they saved my life. I’m just happy they got there so fast,” Merrifield said.
Capt. Geddes said he’s been working as a first responder for more than 30 years and is proud of his colleagues’ teamwork in getting Merrifield to the hospital safely.
“We really didn’t know if this was going to have a positive outcome. Having done this for a while, I knew watching these guys do their work and firing all cylinders and getting it done, I knew we were giving him the best possible chance and we’re just really stoked it had this kind of outcome, because not all of them do,” said Capt. Geddes.
Merrifield is still working toward a full recovery. His mother, Cassie Merrifield, said he is expected to spend two to three days a week in physical therapy and occupational therapy. Merrifield said he’s looking forward to getting back out on the baseball field soon.
Click here to help the Merrifield family with medical expenses or for updates on Drew’s recovery.