A Judge’s Journey of Healing

A Judge's Journey of Healing

A Judge's Journey of Healing

After surviving a devastating automobile accident, County District Judge Leigh Anne Stephens found healing at Saint Joseph Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health.

On the evening of June 29, 2015, the life of Judge Stephens changed forever.

“My cousin and I were in the car driving down a two-lane road with my dogs when a driver came flying around the curve,” Judge Stephens said. “A mountain was on one side and a river on the other, so there was nowhere to go. At 7:28 p.m., a man who had been in my courtroom once for drunk driving hit my car head on, killing himself and one of my dogs, Judge Butterscotch.”

The Impact of the Accident

Though Judge Stephens, her cousin and one of her dogs survived the collision, they required serious medical intervention from the closest medical facility, Appalachian Regional Hospital.

Judge Stephens had a broken left leg and shattered heel bone. But that wasn’t the full extent of the consequences the accident would have on her health. She later developed an infection from her injuries and sought treatment at Saint Joseph Hospital in Lexington.

With the support of Frank Burke, MD, with the Saint Joseph Wound Center and board-certified foot and ankle surgery specialist Bradford Fine, DPM, Judge Stephens underwent a robust regimen of treatments to manage the infection. The team administered antibiotics, performed surgery and ultimately had to amputate her left foot.

“I look back on that time, and I think that they knew I was going to eventually lose the foot. But their first priority was to save my life,” Judge Stephens said. “I have never felt so cared for, loved and encouraged.”

Healing and Hope

Following the amputation, Judge Stephens received hyperbaric oxygen therapy at Saint Joseph Wound Center and has been steadily adjusting to a series of prosthetics. The course of treatment she received has been boosted by the faith-filled friendships she cultivated at Saint Joseph Hospital.

“Having people around to share faith and pray with me was the best possible scenario,” Judge Stephens said. “The doctors and nurses saved my life and healed my spirit. I may have lost my foot, but I am so very blessed.”

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Summer edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.

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