Drill bit survivor makes international headlines | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Drill bit survivor makes international headlines

Scott Hess, Tribune News Service

TRUCKEE — Ron Hunt, the “miracle man” who fell on an 18-inch-long, 1 1/8-inch, chip-auger drill bit and lived to tell — and joke — about it, has received international attention.

So much so, that he has hired a public relations company and launched http://www.Ronhuntmedicalfund.com. Truckee-based Switchback Public Relations was brought on board to create the Web site, handle the phone calls from the media — approximately 10 per day — and help raise funds to pay for his medical bills.

Newspapers, radio and television programs — including NBC’s “Today Show” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” — have latched onto the story.

Hunt will soon be appearing on the Maury Povich and Montell Williams talk shows. Radio and television stations as far away as England and Germany have contacted Hunt.

“I’m totally surprised,” Hunt said in an interview in his Truckee home, where he is recuperating. “It’s a challenge. I’m trying to put everything in perspective.”

On Aug. 15, Hunt was drilling above his head when the six-foot ladder he was on “kicked out” from below him. Before he knew it, the drill was on the ground and he fell on top of it.

The miracle: the bit went through his right eye and exited his skull above his right ear and the only major problem he suffered was the loss of one eye. He also suffered nerve damage in the right side of his face, which he said is permanent.

Amazingly, Hunt stood up after the accident to get on a gurney and then lifted himself to transfer over to the CareFlight gurney.

“It’s a weird pain. It wasn’t like a sharp pain, like if you step on a nail. A nail would hurt worse than this,” he said.

In the emergency room at Washoe Medical Center, Hunt said the surgeon, Dr. Paul Ludlow, started to cut the bit off, but found it would be easier to twist it out.

The story and the published X-ray spawned discussion around the States including many who thought the story was a hoax. Users of the Web site http://www.fark.com — which sent more than 30,000 users to http://www.sierrasun.com in just over 36 hours — started an online discussion, some who expressed empathy for Hunt and others who shunned it as fiction.

Hunt has gone through several surgeries and still feels pain and has some nerve damage in the right side of his face, but did not suffer any brain damage.

He still has to go through a few surgeries and follow-up doctor visits.

Hunt said he did not have insurance and because he was a subcontractor for the job, the company he was working for does not have to provide workers’ compensation.

He says he wants to return to work and won’t let the loss of one eye get him down. He said he will enlist the help of a fellow construction worker who has been working for years with the use of only one eye.

To donate to the Ron Hunt Medical Fund, visit any Bank of the West.

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