SULPHUR, Okla. — Ty Kiser had a better chance of dying than surviving.
He beat the odds after he was accidentally shot in the chest.
Last June Ty went racoon hunting with some friends.
About 30 minutes after they left his house, he was in the back of the family car on the way to the emergency room.
Shortly after that, Ty was in a medical helicopter flying from his hometown, Sulphur, to the Trauma Center at OU Medical in Oklahoma City.
Ty’s body was in shock.
His blood vessels had collapsed.
Ty remembers, “The gun just went off, and then I said, ‘I think I’ve been shot.’”
The .22 calibre bullet had punctured Ty’s pulmonary artery.
The damage was extensive and irreparable.
Dr. Roxie Albrecht runs the trauma team at OU Medical Center.
Albrecht remembers, “They tried to save his lung, to save his life by repairing the lung. Then the surgeon decided that wasn’t going to work. Removing a lung is a gut-wrenching decision that is not taken lightly. It has a survival rate of about 1 to 2 percent.”
Ty’s mother, Janis Kiser, remembers the surgeon’s words after surgery.
“Right now Ty has more of a chance of dying than living.”
Over the course of the next two months, Ty would meet death face-to-face daily.
The injured lung failed. His intestines failed. His kidneys failed.
Dr. Albrecht said, “He had a rocky road. There were times I remember pulling up his x-rays and saying to myself, ‘Oh My God.’ You want so much to do the best you can for everybody and for the families. It takes a piece of you. It really does.”
Ty spent a month in a coma strapped to a ventilation bed while doctors waited to see if his one lung would be enough to keep him alive.
The Kisers touched the staff at OU Medical Center because a few weeks before this catastrophic hunting accident, Janis Kiser buried her husband.
Ty said goodbye to his dad.
Billy Jo Kiser lost his battle with colon cancer.
Janis Kiser said, “For just a brief moment I thought, ‘You know, my husband just died. I might lose Ty too.’ And then I thought, ‘My God is bigger than that. We’ll just have to see.’”
Faith and strength carried the Kisers through this journey.
Ty walked out of OU Medical Center two months after he was admitted.
He is training with the baseball team this season.
He dreams of returning to the gridiron his senior year.
Doctors have discouraged Ty from contact sports and riding horses.
But Ty doesn’t always listen to the experts.
Janis has grown used to Ty defying the odds.