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'Donate, It Saved My Life': Truck Crash Survivor's Plea For Blood Donations

A Jindabyne paramedic -- who was given a five percent chance of survival after being hit by a truck -- is using his own brush with death to save others.

In December 2017, Josh Burke was on his way to wrap Christmas presents when he was hit by a truck on Kosciuszko Road in Jindabyne, NSW.

Trapped by the steering wheel and having broken almost every bone in his body, the paramedic passed out from the pain. 

It was his own paramedic friends and colleagues who responded to the call.

They kept him alive until the rescue helicopter arrived and as fate would have it, the chopper was carrying twice the amount of o-negative blood they would normally carry.

Without it, Bourke wouldn’t have survived.

Image: provided

“Without that blood, I wouldn’t be here it’s as simple as that,” he told 10 News First. 

“I sit back and reflect and look at my family and think about how close it was.”

When describing his injuries he said it was easier to tell us “what he didn’t break”.

He presented with fractures in his face right down to his feet, had punctured lungs and ruptured organs and there was extensive internal bleeding.

Once he’d recovered, the doctor told he had a five per cent chance of survival, something they didn’t dare mention to his wife as she waited anxiously for him to come out of surgery.

Image: provided

“I was aware of some broken bones, I was aware that he had collapsed lungs and I knew there was extensive internal bleeding,” his wife Kelly recalled.

“It was very confronting to see him in that state with machines keeping him alive.”

READ MORE: Another Blood Shortage, But Almost 300,000 Australians Can't Donate

In total, Bourke needed 43 units of blood-- 26 in the first five hours-- during his three-week stay in the Intensive Care unit in Canberra Hospital.

He was then moved to the general ward for two months, celebrating Christmas and his daughter Indie’s birthday in the hospital.

Image: provided

“Words cannot really express how thankful I am to total strangers who took the time out of their day to donate their blood.

Because of what they did, I have my husband and my daughter has her father,” Kelly said through streaming tears.

A little over a year later, it’s hard to fathom that Josh has been through something so traumatic.

And he’s using his experience to encourage others --especially those who are an o-negative blood type -- to donate.

“Without the generosity of strangers out there in the community donating to other strangers, I wouldn’t have survived,” he said.

READ MORE: Toddler Needs Rarest Blood In The World To Fight Cancer

Image: supplied

Toll helicopters carry four units of o-negative blood on every mission because it is the universal blood product that can be given to anybody.

“We carry it on every flight, 365 days a year, because we’re not quite sure when we’ll need it,” Toll Southcare’s Intensive Flight Paramedic, Ian Crossley said.

“O-negative can become very low so it’s important people continue to give blood.”

Contact the author kpratt@networkten.com.au