LEWISTON – A little more than two months ago, Jason Stratton was walking along the side of Lisbon Street during the early morning hours of Oct. 27 when a vehicle ran him over from behind and left the scene.

Jason Stratton, 31, of Lewiston has been at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston since early November after he was struck from behind by a vehicle on Lisbon Street on Oct. 27, 2019. He is scheduled to begin rehab at the end of January. Submitted photo

For more than an hour, Stratton was bleeding on the side of the street. The collision left him with a shattered pelvis, a broken arm and ankle, severe damage to his legs, and a litany of other injuries that led to failing kidneys, pneumonia and near death.

After police found him, he was taken to Central Maine Medical Center, where staff provided emergency treatment and then doctors placed him in a medically induced coma and attempted to raise his blood pressure enough to begin reconstructive surgery on his legs and pelvis.

Doctors were concerned that his blood pressure would be too low to place him under anesthesia during the reconstructive surgery, according to Sarah Stutler, Stratton’s sister.

As November progressed, Stratton’s condition remained unchanged and Stutler elected to transport her brother to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Stratton’s health began to improve and on Nov. 11 doctors woke him from the coma.

For Stratton, 31, the time between when he was hit by the car and when he woke up from the coma passed by like a dream.

“I don’t remember being hit, but I remember yelling for help while laying on the ground,” Stratton said. “I didn’t know what happened. I just remember having these incoherent, strange dreams and I kept telling myself not to wake up.”

As Stratton’s injuries continue to heal, he said he realizes how close he came to dying and remains in good spirits as the arduous road to rehabilitation begins.

“I’ve had doctors come up to me that I’ve never seen and tell me I’m famous around here and that I’m the miracle patient,” Stratton said in a phone interview from his hospital bed in Boston. “I could’ve been dead, but now I get to walk again. I get to eat food again. The man arrested for hitting me could’ve been facing manslaughter charges. I’m alive.”

RECOVERY

Stratton, an Iowa native who moved to the area in 2019 to be closer to family, said his memories just before being hit are a blur.

According to police records, Stratton was found at 2 a.m. on the morning of Oct. 27 in the area of the Alfred Plourde Parkway overpass with “significant injuries.”

Police said Stratton had injuries “clearly caused by being struck by a vehicle” and was quickly taken to Central Maine Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery.

Four days after he was hit, Lewiston police arrested Brad Johnson, 40, of Lewiston and charged him with leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury or death, a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison. He was also charged with falsifying physical evidence, a Class D misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to 364 days in jail.

Johnson was released on $2,500 cash bail with conditions that prohibit him from having any contact with Stratton.

On Jan. 6, Johnson was indicted by an Androscoggin county grand jury on the two charges.

Sarah Stutler of Lewiston, Stratton’s sister, said her brother was given “frequent blood transfusions” due to the loss of blood he suffered laying unattended in the road.

“I just as easily could’ve died,” Stratton said.

In the days after he was taken to Central Maine Medical Center, Stratton said, doctors were “ready to (amputate) up to the knee, depending on how bad my tissue was.”

“Apparently, when they went to amputate, they felt that the tissue was healthy for the most part,” Stratton said. “I only ended up losing half of my left foot.”

He said that it took a while for doctors to operate on his pelvis because “my blood pressure was too low.”

“My pelvis was completely disconnected from my spine, and with my blood pressure as low as it was, the doctors didn’t want to operate until it was raised,” Stratton said. “Around the same time, I had to fight off pneumonia. I had some water around my lungs, and my kidneys were weakening, so I was on dialysis for a bit.”

He was silent for a moment before adding, “Things could’ve been a lot worse.”

THE BRIGHT SIDE

Stratton was recently accepted to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, where he will undergo at least two months of rehabilitation, though he said he can’t begin until late January.

“The doctors told me that with a pelvis broken as badly as mine, I need to wait at least three months before putting weight on it,” Stratton said. “I’ve been doing some exercises to get some strength back in my leg, because it’s weaker than my other leg right now.”

He has also had to deal with pain in his right elbow due to nerve damage.

“Right now, I can barely move my arm (because of the) pain,” Stratton said. “They’re going to do a surgery on it soon to try and ease some of the pain. It’s definitely done a number on me.”

Stratton said in some ways, he’s welcoming the discomfort and pain that will come with rehabilitation.

“I know that rehab won’t be easy work,” Stratton said, “but I want to put in the work and get back to walking normal. If I have a limp, I’m ready for that. If I have to walk with a cane, so be it.”

He’s also looking forward to returning to the life he was trying to start in Maine before the accident.

Stratton said besides exercising at the YMCA and being hired as a salesman at Lee Auto Mall, he was also taking college courses and studying for midterms.

The accident forced him to temporarily drop out of school and give up his position at Lee Auto Mall.

“I was doing pretty good in school too, before all of this happened,” Stratton said. “I had two A’s and a C. I loved it though. I loved the studying, the taking tests, all of it. I’m still hoping to go back after.”

Stratton said a positive mental attitude has kept his spirits up as he tries to get his body healthy enough for rehab.

“I’m not spending time asking, ‘Why me’ or blaming anybody,” Stratton said. “I’ve been at the hospital for over two months now, so it is what it is. All I’m focused on is (the) work I have to do to get better and how (to) get into rehab.”

Stratton has created a GoFundMe page to help pay for expenses while he stays in Boston for rehab.


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