Long Island man struck by lightning tells his harrowing story

BAY SHORE, Suffolk County (WABC) -- A man who survived a tangential lightning strike on Long Island told Eyewitness News Tuesday he feels lucky to be alive.

Jose Campos was working at Roman Stone Construction Company in Bay Shore during Monday's heavy rain storm. As Campos was lifting a metal chain, he said he saw lightning hit the ground about 20 feet in front of him and saw the light travel on the ground until it reached him.

"I felt my whole body was numb," Campos said.

He said he couldn't move for a few minutes, and then he eventually was able to stumble back into the building where someone called 911.

"I am very grateful to God that I still am alive," said Campos, a father of two from Central Islip.

Campos is still being treated at Southside Hospital for headaches and tingling throughout his body.

Doctors said he could be released any day, but he will need to have follow-up treatment for possible symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He will receive concussion counseling through the hospital, which includes PTSD and depression treatments.

Doctors said victims of lightning strikes often suffer from depression. The reason is unknown, whether the trauma of the experience causes the emotional distress or if the lighting itself alters the brain.

"To be involved in a lighting strike and to 10 minutes later crawl and talk and get an ambulance to assist you in your care is very fortunate," said Dr. Greg Garra, Associate Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Southside Hospital.

Doctors said if the lightning had directly hit Campos, he most likely would not have survived.

Eyewitness News reached out to Roman Stone Construction Company several times Monday and Tuesday. The company did not return our calls.

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