TX hurricane survivor inspired by traumatic experience studies to be a doctor

TX hurricane survivor inspired by traumatic experience studies to be a doctor
CNN
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POSTED: Sunday, July 20, 2014 - 9:00am

UPDATED: Sunday, July 20, 2014 - 9:04am

By Marty Watson

HARLINGEN, TX (KVEO) -- To the outside eye, Jose Carlos Padilla looks like any other 22-year-old. But just six years ago, when Hurricane Dolly hit South Texas particularly hard, he went through one of the most traumatic experiences of his life.

"July 23, 2008, I was in my apartment on South Padre Island," said Padilla. "At 11 I think, it sucked me out of my hotel room. It created a vacuum between the door and the window I was near and it sucked me out."

But Padilla didn't just fall one or two stories. He came crashing to the ground from seven stories above. Needless to say, his bodily damage was extensive.

"I had major injuries," said Padilla. "My two extremities, upper extremities, my pelvis and my right lower extremity."

Because of the inclement weather, it took several hours for medics to transport Padilla to Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen. After going through a number of different surgeries and receiving a helping hand from doctors, he was finally able to recover.

But the experience didn't dampen Padilla's spirit. In fact, it inspired him to become a doctor himself. He's in his third year as a med student at La Universidad de Monterrey.

And now, he's back at Valley Baptist. But this time, he's shadowing the doctors who healed him.

"Actually it was the main push," said Padilla. "I wanted to give the opportunity to other people, who suffer accidents with no purpose."

Padilla says he's lucky just to be alive.

"Thank you to all the doctors," said Padilla. "I'm here, complete."

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