An 8-year-old boy from western Wisconsin is being called a walking miracle one year after he was run over by a tractor and its feed wagon last August. Now, he's meeting his life-savers for the first time.
The pictures of Cole Heiden after the accident are hard to look at. He spent his eighth birthday in a coma that lasted for 30 days, and he was in the hospital for two months. All that because he decided to take a ride on his dad's tractor.
"A fender broke off and I fell off and got ran over," he recalled.
Allan Heiden said that by the time he hit the clutch and the break, his son was nowhere to be seen. Allan Heiden has been a farmer all his life and said he never hesitated when it came to letting kids ride on the tractor. Now, he's urging all parents to keep kids away from the machines, saying his son's injuries were 100 percent preventable.
With broken ribs, a punctured lung and a lacerated liver -- Cole Heiden was at risk of dying.
That's where Mayo One comes in. They came to the family farm to fly Heiden from Whitehall, Wis., to a hospital in Eau Claire.
"He was probably one of the most critically-injured pediatric trauma patients I've ever taken care of," Mayo Flight Nurse Kimberly Arndorfer told FOX 9 News.
Heiden got to meet Arndorfer for the first time nine months after his accident, and he got to see the place where his life-saving procedures began.
While en route to the hospital, Heiden was in dire need of blood. Fortunately, Mayo One is the only medical helicopter in Minnesota and western Wisconsin that carries blood on its flights.
"He wouldn't have survived," Arndorfer said. "There's no doubt in my mind he wouldn't have survived."
In fact, doctors say that only 5 percent of patients with a lacerated liver make it. Not only did he beat the odds, he also presented a unique opportunity to Arndorfer in that she gets to see the results of her work.
"Thank you for saving my life," Heiden told her.
As a mother of three boys, Arndorfer says the meeting was one she won't forget.
"It was awesome," she said. "He looks like a little 8-year-old boy. You would never have known he was injured -- just super cool."
Yet, Arndorfer doesn't want anyone to forget the doctors who also played a major role in saving Cole Heiden.