Jeff Delrie (Screengrab From Youtube)

Louisiana Man, Paralyzed In Hunting Accident, Walks Again After 2 Surgeries In Florida

Jeff Delrie (Screengrab From Youtube)
Jeff Delrie (Screengrab From Youtube)

A Louisiana man who was paralyzed and wheelchair-bound after a hunting accident claims that two surgical operations performed by Dr. Alfred Bonati in Florida allowed him to regain the use of his legs and live normally despite other physicians telling him he would never walk again.

Jeff Delrie was paralyzed in November 2015 when he fell from a tree while setting up a deer stand. During the incident, he fell directly on his head, crushing vertebrae and compressing the spinal cord.

After eight hours of anguish in the woods, he was discovered and taken to a neighboring hospital, where he was told he would never walk again. Doctors also intended to amputate his right arm, which was crushed in the incident.

After two weeks at that facility, he was transferred to a different hospital in New Orleans, where doctors, surgeons, and other medical specialists came to the same conclusion.

He made no progress during the next six weeks.

Delrie sought the assistance of Dr. Bonati, whom he had seen years before for persistent pain in his right arm (the same right arm that physicians later intended to amputate following the hunting accident), which had rendered him unable to lift anything.

However, Delrie regained full use of his arm following his initial surgery with Dr. Bonati.

“It was just like flipping a switch,” Delrie said of that surgery. “The pain went away instantly.”

Delrie returned to the Bonati Spine Institute in March 2016, where he underwent his first surgery, which allowed him to regain the use of his legs.

“After curing a man who was told over and over that he would never walk again, Dr. Bonati and his assistants shed tears in the operating room,” said Kimberly Bonati, senior vice president of media and communications for Bonati Spine Institute. “When Jeff began to move his legs, he kicked over a medical tray from the operating table. Dr. Bonati knew his mobility was back, and he was never happier to clean up a mess.”

Six days later, Jeff stood up for the first time since his injury, and Dr. Bonati cleared him for a second surgery to help him regain the use of his arms and hands.

The surgery was completed the following day, and it also worked.

“It was miraculous. Everyone else, every other doctor I talked to in the medical world was convinced that I would never walk again,” Delrie said. They said I was destined to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair and in bed. My last chance was to contact Dr. Bonati. He gave me hope.”

Jeff is now 67, and though he still requires physical and occupational therapy, he lives a normal life.

He said that last Christmas, he was able to lay on the ground and play with his baby granddaughter. He stood up off the ground without assistance, yet another milestone in his recovery that other doctors said he would never reach.

He still goes hunting, too.

“As a matter of fact, I killed a deer two years ago,” he said. “My son-in-law took me hunting. I’ve still got my eye for shooting.”

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