Ashley Judd Gives Recovery Update on Leg Injury After Rainforest Fall
By Mona Khalifeh
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Ashley Judd is recovering from surgery after shattering her leg in the Democratic Republic of Congo during an excursion she took while researching an endangered species of apes, the bonobos.
The actress took to Instagram to update fans on her recovery and revealed that she is "up and around already" after undergoing an 8-hour surgery to repair her bones.
"I want to give my deepest and most vulnerable thanks to Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, for making split second decisions upon my arrival. I arrived to them from DRC in terrible shape and my leg had no pulse. I desperately needed a blood transfusion. Their sisters (nurses) are exemplary, technically top notch, and they cared for the trauma in my body as well as my soul with equal proficiency. Pictured here, once I was stable, is carefree laughter and mirth," Judd shared alongside a Boomerang video of the nursing staff.
"Dr Greef, pictured, was super at stabilizing my leg with the external fixator until the massive soft tissue damage and swelling went down so that I could have the Big Operation. What he did was significant and I am forever in his debt. It must be noted I was being cared for during the Covid B.1.351 strain that is plaguing RSA. Sunninghill is world class and a wonder. Thank you to my trauma surgeon, anesthesiologist, head of nursing, hospital management - everyone."
Judd went on to reveal that her father was able to make it to South Africa to be by her side for her initial treatment, eventually making his way with her back to the States for surgery.
"My beloved Dad, who had gotten the text no parent ever wants: 'emergency, can’t answer questions, please come now,' had indeed, because he is vaccinated, been able to come to South Africa. He has been my rock, companion, resource, helped me listen to so many doctors, critical support system, and kind, loving presence as I have wept and wept. We then made the 22 hour - 4 flights - to America thanks to unbelievably efficient disaster travel insurance on an Air Ambulance."
Once stateside and stable, the actress and activist was able to undergo the procedure that would ultimately save her leg.
"In an American hospital, I had to continue to wait for the tissue damage and swelling to reduce. Eventually I was qualified to have the 8-hour surgery to repair the bones, decompress the hemorrhaging nerve and pick the shards of bones out of the nerve. I am now recovering from surgery," she revealed.
"I’m very thankful to all of the experts, including that expert pictured, my Pop, who is rubbing my foot to remind my foot while it still cannot move that it is connected to my body. I am up and around already. Thank you for your care and kind words. Let us always remember those without insurance. Let us remember those who do have choices. Let us remember those who are lonely and afraid."
Just last week, Judd shared photos of the grueling, 55-hour rescue mission that saved her life and the people who got her to safety.
"Friends. Without my Congolese brothers and sisters, my internal bleeding would have likely killed me, and I would have lost my leg. I wake up weeping in gratitude, deeply moved by each person who contributed something life giving and spirit salving during my grueling 55 hour odyssey," Judd shared.
The Divergent star expressed that without those kind souls and the privilege that she had been afforded, she may not have received the kind of care she was able to as she quickly as she did.
"The difference between a Congolese person and me is disaster insurance that allowed me 55 hours after my accident to get to an operating table in South Africa," the actress told The New York Times' Nick Kristof in an Instagram Live earlier this month. "I'm in a lot of love. I'm in a lot of compassion and I'm in a lot of gratitude. I thank everyone for their thoughts and their prayers and their support."