Jeremy DeShazo spent his 18th birthday in Mother Frances Hospital. But, he doesn't remember it. He was recovering from severe brain and internal injuries he suffered when the church bus he was riding on slammed into an overpass on I-20 last summer.
"It couldn't happen to us," said Jeremy. "We were going to church camp. I had my headphones on and my CD player going. The last thing I know, we were going down the highway, and I put my head on the window, and I saw the road going by."
Moments later, the bus was torn apart as it smashed into a concrete pillar. Four teens and the driver died at the scene.
News of the wreck spread quickly back to family members in Dallas. Jeremy's mother, Terri DeShazo heard about the tragedy listening to the radio. "We had heard on the news that they had life flighted a 17 year old boy, and I told everyone, 'That's my son. That's Jeremy.' 'Oh no, you don't know that.' I said, 'Yes I do.' I knew. I knew he was dead or he was dying."
Jeremy was on that Life Flight. He was taken to Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler. In addition to the brain and internal injuries, his spleen was removed. He suffered broken ribs, broken pelvis, a fractured leg, and several broken bones in both feet.
Dr. Luis Fernandez was one of the Mother Frances Trauma Surgeons who worked on Jeremy that day. "He had burn injuries on approximately 30 to 40 percent of his total body area from having laid in a pool of diesel fuel and motor oil, which is very caustic to the skin."
That was six months ago. On Wednesday, Jeremy DeShazo returned to Mother Frances to thank the doctors, nurses, and helicopter pilots who fought to save his life. "I wanted to meet them all again. For the first time again."
Jeremy spent almost a month in a coma here last summer. But most signs of his near death trauma have disappeared. His skin grafts are healing and he does not have a limp.
Jeremy's mother sat beside him in the hospital while he recovered. She watched him again, as he returned triumphant. "To see him walk through the doors, and the looks on their faces, it's just fabulous. We're so proud of him because he has fought to get better too."
"This is a job that the highs are highs, and the lows are lows. And, the lows are very frequent," said Dr. Fernandez. "And, sometimes you ask yourself, what am I doing when I'm doing this thing. And, why am I doing it? But, when you see things like this. When you see a young man like this that looks great, I mean he looks great, it makes it all worth while for you."