Ashley Judd says she could have died from shattering her leg in Africa

Ashley Judd reveals she could have LOST HER LEG or DIED of internal bleeding after shattering her limb in the Democratic Republic of Congo before 55-hour rescue with just a bamboo splint

  • Judd, 52, broke her leg in four places during a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo last week
  • In a new Instagram post, she reveals she ‘would have lost [her] leg’ or died of ‘internal bleeding’ without help from Congolese rescuers
  • The actress had to be held down in terrible pain to set her leg ahead of an hours-long trek through the jungle with six men carrying her
  • Judd is current recuperating in a South African hospital

Ashely Judd claimed she could have died of ‘internal bleeding’ after a horrific fall in the Democratic Republic of Congo last week.

The 52-year-old actress revealed in a new Instagram post from Tuesday that she suffered a ‘shattered leg in four places’ plus ‘nerve damage’ that could have also required an amputation.

Her update, with stunning photos of her jungle rescue, follows a grueling 55-hour rescue including a lengthy trek through the jungle before she was transferred to an ICU in South Africa.

Terrifying ordeal: Ashley Judd, 52, shared photos to Instagram of her 55-hour rescue from a jungle in the Democratic Republic of Congo last week, after she shattered her leg in a life-threatening injury

In a lengthy caption on Instagram, she wrote, ‘Friends. Without my Congolese brothers and sisters, my internal bleeding would have likely killed me, and I would have lost my leg. I wake up weeping in gratitude, deeply moved by each person who contributed something life giving and spirit salving during my grueling 55 hour odyssey.’

Ashley went on to thank each of the people involved in getting her the help she needed, including a man she named ‘Papa Jean,’ who ‘manipulated and adjusted [her] broken bones’ so that she could be transported safely.

‘Papa Jean: it took 5 hours, but eventually he found me, wretched and wild on the ground, and calmly assessed my broken leg,’ she wrote. ‘He told me what he had to do. I bit a stick. I held onto Maud.

‘And Papa Jean, with certainty began to manipulate and adjust my broken bones back into something like a position I could be transported in, while I screamed and writhed,’ she continued.

Medical emergency: ‘Without my Congolese brothers and sisters, my internal bleeding would have likely killed me, and I would have lost my leg,’ she wrote

Good Samaritan: Ashley went on to thank each of the people involved in getting her the help she needed, including a man she named ‘Papa Jean,’ who ‘manipulated and adjusted [her] broken bones’ so that she could be transported safely

Accident: The Double Jeopardy star sustained her injuries when she was out on an excursion and had been using a faulty head lamp, which made it difficult for her to see

‘How he did that so methodically while I was like an animal is beyond me. He saved me. & he had to do this twice! The six men who carefully moved me into the hammock with as little jostling as possible, who then walked for 3 hours over rough terrain carrying me out. Heros [sic].’ 

The Double Jeopardy star sustained her injuries when she was out on an excursion and had been using a faulty head lamp, which made it difficult for her to see, causing her to trip over a fallen tree.

Five hours after her accident someone arrived to reset her bones, before she was carried through the rainforest to a motorcycle, where she was driven for six hours to the city of Jolu.   

Excruciating pain: She tripped over a fallen tree in the darkness, shattering her leg in four places

Treacherous trek: Five hours after her accident someone arrived to reset her bones, before she was carried through the rainforest to a motorcycle, where she was driven for six hours to the city of Jolu

Helping hands: She thanked her colleagues Didier and Maradona, who were shown in one of her photos during her drive to the hospital

She thanked her colleagues Didier and Maradona, who were shown in one of her photos during her drive to the hospital.

‘Didier and Maradona: Didier drove the motorbike. I sat facing backwards, his back my backrest,’ she wrote. ‘When I would begin to slump, to pass out, he would call to me to re-set my position to lean on him. Maradona rode on the very back of the motorbike, i faced him. He held my broken leg under the heel and I held the shattered top part together with my two hands.

‘Together we did this for 6 hours on an irregular, rutted and pocked dirt road that has gullies for rain run off during the rainy season. Maradona was the only person to come forward to volunteer for this task,’ she explained, adding that the two ‘have a nice friendship’ and even had a philosophical discussion on ‘the pros and cons of polygamy and monogramy.’

She included two photos of Maradona, ‘one in his hat and one in mine, which he dearly covets!’

Judd ended her post by thanking ‘The women! My sisters who held me,’ adding that ‘They blessed me.’  

Generous: Maradona rode on the very back of the motorbike, i faced him. He held my broken leg under the heel and I held the shattered top part together with my two hands

A moment of levity: She included two photos of Maradona, ‘one in his hat and one in mine, which he dearly covets!’

Life savers: Judd ended her post by thanking ‘The women! My sisters who held me,’ adding that ‘They blessed me’

After spending the night in the city, she was then flown to the capital of Kinshasa to stay for 24 hours and then, eventually, down to South Africa to be treated in an ICU in that country. 

The actress revealed the news during an Instagram Live with Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times, via People. 

Ashley said that she was ‘in an ICU trauma unit in beautiful South Africa, which has taken me in from the Congo: a country I deeply love which is not, unfortunately, equipped to deal with massive catastrophic injuries like I had.’

Adding: ‘And the difference between a Congolese person and me is disaster insurance that allowed me 55 hours after my accident to get to an operating table in South Africa.’ 

On the mend: Judd is currently recovering in the ICU at a South African hospital, as the Democratic Republic of Congo wasn’t equipped to handle her injuries

Sharing: Nicholas Kristof, of The New York Times, via People, shared a picture of Ashley on a stretcher 

The actress said many people from the Congo don’t have access to even something as simple as a pain killer let alone if they shattered their leg in four places and have nerve damage, stressing her privilege.   

Ashley also shared a picture of a Bonobo on Instagram and described how the chimpanzees are ‘endangered’ with her and a team having a small research camp in the Congo.

The actress described how she ‘nearly lost her leg’ during the excursion, adding: ‘I am accustomed to being there. I am a woman of the wilderness, as you know.

‘Accidents do happen. I struck something in the dark and fell.’ 

Beautiful creature: Ashley also shared a picture of a Bonobo on Instagram and described how the chimpanzees are ‘endangered’ with her and a team having a small research camp in the Congo

Traumatizing: Ashley said the accident occurred after a faulty head lamp made it hard for her to see during an excursion in the Congo; pictured March 4, 2018 at the 90th Academy Awards

The latest: The actress, 52, revealed the news during an Instagram Live with Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times, via People

Ashley said after the accident, the next 55 hours were ‘harrowing’ as she ‘started with five hours of lying on the forest floor.’

She was with a colleague like that until she was able to be evacuated, the star explained.

‘With his leg under my badly misshapen leg, biting my stick. Howling like a wild animal,’ as she held up the stick on the Live, per the outlet.

At the end of the fifth hour, someone came to reset her bones while she was ‘going into shock’ and ‘passing out’ because of the pain, according to People.

Afterwards, she spent ‘an hour and a half in hammock, being carried out of the rainforest by my Congolese brothers, who were doing it barefoot, up and over hills, through the river’ in order to return to the camp.

The next step in the journey had Ashley on a motorcycle for six hours with someone holding her leg up and someone driving.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLMgOCWnihU/

A post shared by Nicholas Kristof (@nickkristof)

Dire straits: The actress (pictured in 2014) said many people from the Congo don’t have access to even something as simple as a pain killer let alone if they shattered their leg in four places

Speaking out: She said she then tripped over a tree that fell, causing her to break her leg

Ashley also said she recognized her ‘privilege’ in being able to pay someone to take her.

Then, she spent the night in a hut in Jolu and then being flown into the capital of Kinshasa for a day before getting to South Africa to the ICU, per People.

Of her whole ordeal, she said: ‘I’m in a lot of love. I’m in a lot of compassion and I’m in a lot of gratitude. I thank everyone for their thoughts and their prayers and their support,’ according to People. 

Harrowing tale: Ashley said that she was ‘in an ICU trauma unit in beautiful South Africa, which has taken me in from the Congo: a country I deeply love which is not, unfortunately, equipped to deal with massive catastrophic injuries like I had’

Wishing her a speedy recovery: Of her whole ordeal, she said: ‘I’m in a lot of love. I’m in a lot of compassion and I’m in a lot of gratitude. I thank everyone for their thoughts and their prayers and their support,’ according to People; November 8, 2017 in NYC

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