Nearly 19 Gallons of Blood Used After Bull-Riding Accident
Tuesday, August 1, 2017 at 11:08AM
Laurie Brady - Webmaster

The night he was injured, doctors guessed Nathan Davis had less than a 5-percent chance of surviving. Nurses and paramedics pumped blood into him like a family filling a pool with a leak – watching gallon after gallon being taken in, only to come back out again.

“I remember them giving him units [of blood] and counting quickly like 1…2…3…,” said Michelle Davis, Nathan’s mom.

In the first two-and-a-half weeks, Nathan would receive more than 150 units – nearly 19 gallons – of blood…most of it in the first 48 hours. He would undergo seven surgeries during those two weeks, losing 40 pounds in the process.

It all began on a warm August night in 2014. Nathan was an up-and-coming bull rider, but at 17 years old, he was still learning the ropes. That night, a spot opened at the Alma Fair, so the Beaverton native took it. After jumping a couple of times on the bull, he was thrown off…and that’s the last thing he remembers.

“When I first remember thinking about things, I was like, ‘Why am I in a hospital bed? I just got the wind knocked out of me!’,” recalled Nathan.

What actually happened nearly killed him: Nathan was thrown from the bull, and it stomped down on top of him, nearly cutting his liver in two. He was taken in an ambulance to a local hospital and then flown to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids. He was there for two and a half weeks before being transferred to Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, and was transferred two weeks later to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.

“Nobody expected him to make it. In my head, I knew that…but in my heart, I wouldn’t let it go,” said Michelle, fighting tears.

Two years later, Nathan still doesn’t have any feeling in the top of his feet. A scar splits his abdomen, dotted on either side where, at one point, only stitches held him together. But otherwise, you’d never know the young man once had nearly 19 gallons of blood put into him – something that would take the average person about 25 years to donate (if they gave every two months).

“Before [Nathan was injured], giving blood was something I knew people did,” said Michelle, “Afterward, it’s totally changed my perspective.”

Now, Michelle says she’s going to try to donate blood more often. Nathan plans to try and donate with her.

“You’re saving somebody else’s family,” he said, “Somebody donated to save your family – you can donate to save someone else’s.”

Article originally appeared on Michigan Blood (http://www.miblood.org/).
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