- Associated Press - Friday, December 8, 2017

ASSARIA, Kan. (AP) - After an electrical shock three years ago that left him with severe burns over much of his body and resulted in the amputation of both of his legs, Zach Short wasn’t sure if he was going to live, much less have another child with his wife, Jodi.

The couple already had a daughter, Brynlee, now 4, but wanted to have another child.

Jodi suffered two miscarriages. Her third pregnancy proceeded, but the couple’s son was born a month early and had to be put on oxygen immediately after being delivered.

“We weren’t sure we were going to have a healthy baby,” said Zach, 27. “We did a lot of praying, and we got a lot of answered prayers.”

Although a month premature, Jodi said their son weighed 6 pounds and only had to spend 24 hours on oxygen.

“He was called a ‘rainbow baby,’ which is what they call a baby born after a miscarriage,” said Jodi, 26. “They made it sound like he would be on oxygen, but his oxygen levels were 100 percent when he came out, so his lungs must be really strong.”

The Hutchinson News reports that the baby, named Brycen, was born Nov. 9 and is exactly 2 weeks old today. Because of this, Zach and Jodi feel they have a whole lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

“I feel so blessed, especially after what I went through,” Zach said. “The miscarriages got us down, but we kept praying. I wanted a boy, and I got what I wanted. He had five fingers and five toes, so we’re excited.”

It seems like little Brycen inherited his father’s will to survive and thrive.

On Oct. 25, 2014, Zach wasn’t expected to survive, much less father a healthy baby boy.

While cutting soybeans in a neighbor’s field near the intersection of Ohio Street and Farrelly Road on that fateful day, Zach saw a grain cart catch on fire. As he ran to try to help put out the flames, he didn’t realize the auger on the grain cart had come into contact with a 7,200-volt power line.

When Zach attempted to leap over the hitch connecting the tractor to the grain cart, he was severely shocked. It was about 30 seconds before a farm hand used a plastic and wood shovel to pry Zach away from the cart.

Three days after being taken to the hospital with severe burns, Zach coded for nine minutes and was read the last rites. He spent 20 days in a coma before awakening to face multiple skin graft surgeries, possible multiple organ failure and the amputation of part of both legs, one of them above the knee.

Doctors nearly amputated his left arm, but the Shorts got a second opinion from a doctor at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, and the arm was saved.

It’s been a challenging road since then, with multiple skin graft surgeries, dozens of medications, visits to a hyperbaric chamber to help heal his open wounds and several fittings for prosthetic legs. His new legs were fitted by Peeples Prosthetics, a Wichita-based company that constructs and custom fits prosthetic limbs.

Through the generosity of a U.S. Marine veteran and fellow amputee, Zach was fitted with a prosthetic for his left leg that has a knee containing a computer microprocessor. This allowed Zach better stabilization and mobility and gave him the ability once again to resume his farming career.

“It allows me to do most of the things I did before,” he said. “It allows me to comfortably stand and hold (Brycen) without worrying about falling.”

For the last year, Zach miraculously has had no medical problems or major infections. Not that long ago, Zach said, he was taking up to 26 pills a day.

“Now I’m taking zero, except for a multivitamin,” he said.

Zach’s burns have healed, but the thinner skin on his face is vulnerable to sunburns. His left arm that was nearly amputated continues to grow stronger, and he now can grip phones and cups.

He’s also gained most of his weight back - from 95 pounds in the hospital to 165 at present.

“I lost a lot of weight quick when they amputated my legs,” he said. “I had chicken legs then, and now I still have them.”

“They’re metal now, though,” Jodi said.

The Shorts said they knew they had a whole lot to be thankful for.

“I’m thankful for these two babies we have and all the answered prayers,” Jodi said.

Zach’s whole focus this year was to be a faithful husband and a good father to his daughter and newborn son.

“I’m happy the focus is not on me anymore,” he said. “My family helped me; they enjoyed helping me. I didn’t like it, but I had no choice. Now it’s in the past. We can celebrate the holidays as a family without worrying what’s going to happen in the future.”


Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide