Man nearly killed while helping strangers thanks team that saved his life

Darla Miles Image
Thursday, October 13, 2022
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Michael McCutchan thanked those who saved his life when he was struck while stopping to help two other drivers. Darla Miles has the story.

VALHALLA, New York (WABC) -- A man who was nearly killed while helping strangers gave thanks himself on Thursday.

Michael McCutchan was struck by a van on the Mario Cuomo Bridge last year while stopping to help two other drivers.

After nearly a dozen surgeries, and even losing his leg, he thanked the doctors who saved his life.

"I vaguely remember being asked to give a thumbs up and that's when I was here," McCutchan said.

That thumbs up to doctors at Westchester Medical Center was the beginning of a valiant comeback.

"I had trouble accepting the leg wasn't there, I was a very active 61-year-old, climbing ladders, climbing poles," McCutchan said.

One might even say he could leap small buildings in a single bound - having dedicated his life to public service at 16 to becoming a volunteer firefighter and a detective with both the NYPD and New York State Attorney General's Office.

It's no surprise he stopped on the bridge to rescue a driver stopped in the center lane and slumped over the wheel.

That's what he's always done - but never with this outcome.

"I started putting the cones down, and when I looked up, all I saw was a white light and I tried to jump out of the way and was hit," McCutchan said.

"We could immediately tell he was severely injured, his leg had been nearly amputated off," said Chief of Trauma & Acute Care Surgery Dr. Kartik Prabhakaran. "He had a brain injury. He could barely talk."

When he hit the doors at Westchester, the level one trauma center for Hudson Valley, McCutchan also had fractured bones in his fact, a fractured skull and ribs.

He also needed a life-saving blood transfusion.

"He is probably the most critically ill patient that I have seen here," said nursing director of Trauma ICU Stephanie Kennedy.

But that was a year ago.

"He's really a miracle that he pulled out of this the way he did," his son Christopher McCutchan said.

Nearly one year after he came into their car, McCutchan was reunited with those at Westchester who made it possible for the superhero to continue to share his magic with the world.

The celebration of his recovery, is truly so heartwarming to us as staff," Prabhakaran said.

"And to come back here and have them say I can't believe we're sitting down here eating a meal," McCutchan said. "You were in such condition and now you're back."

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