Nebraskan who survived grain bin accident to be honored as Trauma Champion

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Jim and Amy Earnhart will both tell you a lot can change in an instant.

The Plymouth man was working in a grain bin when an 1,100 pound pipe fell on him.

For them, that instant came in August 2018.

"I don't remember anything from that day, luckily," Jim said.

The Plymouth man was working in a grain bin when an 1,100 pound pipe fell on him.

Amy on the other hand, remembers everything.

"The phone kept ringing and ringing," Amy said. "I answered and the woman on the other end of the line said 'Amy are you home right now?' I said 'yes,what's going on," and she said Jim had been in an accident."

It's been just over a year since the accident, and Earnhart marked the anniversary in the same trauma room at Bryan West Hospital he was life-flighted to.

He said the pipe fell first on his right foot, then bounced to his left side, pinning him against the grain bin.

Doctors were forced to amputate his left hand and left leg below the knee to save his life.

But after that he wasn't out of the woods yet.

"There's been struggles," Jim said.

Jim spent several days in the intensive care unit and months in rehab at Bryan Health and then Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals.

He relearned how to walk with a prosthetic foot and to use a prosthetic hand.

"I was so proud of his recovery, his determination," Amy said.

That determination- may have saved his life.

Doctor Stanley Okosun, medical director for Bryan Trauma Center said a patient's recovery is 95% up to the patient.

"Jim had the drive to survive, we just facilitated that," Okosun said.

Okosun said seeing Jim Tuesday gave him a feeling he couldn't describe.

"Seeing him just puts that joy in you, it gives you the drive to keep doing what you're doing and that's why stories like this, you just can't describe," Okosun said.

Jim and Amy said their life changed in that moment.

But not for the worse.

"We've learned a lot through this," Jim said. "We've learned patience, we've learned there are more important things in life."

"You learn its not about the material things anymore," Amy said.

Jim said, he wouldn't trade that for anything.

"I've been asked if I would give up what I know now to have my arm and leg back and my answer to that is no."

Jim will be honored as Bryan Health's " Tribute to Trauma Champions" event Thursday night.