NEWCASTLE, Okla. – Even though doctors told his family that he would need a miracle to survive, a Newcastle teen is beating the odds and is undergoing his final surgery before going home.
In December, Caleb and Clayton Freeman were on their way to a University of Oklahoma basketball game when Caleb’s pick-up spun out of control on I-35.
Caleb’s truck stopped directly in front of Alex Stout’s big rig.
“Once his vehicle lost control, it spun out and came directly in front of my lane,” Stout said. “I knew I couldn’t stop. I knew I was going to hit him. I just… There’s nothing you can do at that point.”
Brad Frakes had also been on his way to the OU game that night. He stopped to help and called the boys’ parents.
“My phone rang. It was Caleb, and I answered it,” said Caleb’s dad, Jeremy Freeman. “There was this man on the other end very frantic. I will never forget that.”
Frakes actually pulled Clayton, who was unscathed, from the passenger seat.
“I remember looking over at Caleb, and he was shaking,” Clayton said. “I was scared. I didn’t really know what to think.”
Both boys were rushed to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City; Caleb was in critical condition.
“A nurse pulled me to the side, and I said, ‘I need you to level with me. You just got to tell me the truth,’” Jeremy said. “And, she said, ‘Sir, we need a miracle.’ And, that moment, my heart dropped.”
For weeks, Caleb didn’t wake up. He laid in the ICU comatose, paralyzed, wavering between life and death.
His brain had been so rattled by the impact of the wreck it had stopped running his body. Ninety percent of patients with this type of traumatic brain injury never wake up.
Nearly three months after the crash, still speechless, Caleb wrote his name.
"So, that was the first day that I really started to think this is going to change a lot," said Craig Hospital Speech-Language Pathologist Megan Butz.
Then, the floodgates opened, and Caleb started to speak.
"It's only God, and no one else," Caleb said. "All the healing is because of Him. All the progress is because of God. He's been with me through it all. Without Him, I wouldn't be alive."
Last week, Caleb's family announced that the Newcastle teenager will soon be heading home.
Before that can happen, surgeons needed to repair part of his ear.
"Basically, the doctor will take cartilage from Caleb's rib area, along with skin grafts from multiple areas, and will work to piece everything together. He will connect the cartilage with an artery above Caleb's ear, and will seek to create as close to [a] match as possible with his other ear," a post on Facebook from his father read.
Doctors began performing the surgery on Thursday morning, but it is expected to take several hours to complete.