Ashley Judd nearly lost her leg and could have died after suffering a serious leg injury while on a trip to Congo. She now is sharing some of the photos of the 55-hour ordeal she underwent to get out of the jungle and into a hospital for emergency surgery after the accident.
“Friends,” she wrote on the Instagram post. “Without my Congolese brothers and sisters, my internal bleeding would have likely killed me, and I would have lost my leg. I wake up weeping in gratitude, deeply moved by each person who contributed something life-giving and spirit salving during my grueling 55-hour odyssey.”
Her immediate care was haphazard as there were no medical supplies to treat her, she wrote. She bit down on a stick to deal with the pain and to keep her from screaming. She also showed off the makeshift cast made of wood pieces and string used to hold her broken leg together during the long journey.
But she’s avoided using the incident for personal clout. She’s consistently used her interviews and social media posts about her injury to discuss poverty in the region. In her Instagram post, she showed the heroic work of the men carrying her from the jungle. As well as the emotional support she received during the ordeal. She called them out by name and detailed their contributions.
Judd said she is recuperating after receiving emergency surgery.
Ashley Judd Details Her Long Journey to Get Help after Fall
Ashley Judd did an Instagram Live with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof last week to explain what happened. She was in the country to study bonobos. She makes the trip a couple of times a year with her life partner, she said. The primates are near extinction, and Judd has worked for years to raise awareness of their plight.
“Accidents happen — and there was a fallen tree on the path which I didn’t see and I had a very powerful stride going and I just fell over this tree,” she said on Friday, according to CNN. “As I was breaking my leg, I knew it was being broken.”
What followed could have been the plot of one of her films. She endured hours of excruciating pain before making it to a doctor. Her Congolese “brothers and sisters” carried her from the jungle in a homemade hammock. They also underwent a six-hour scooter ride to get her to a hospital. They held her leg in place during the hours-long trek.
Judd admits that her fame and success also played a role in her rescue. She said she received better treatment than her rescuers would have.
“The difference between a Congolese person and me is disaster insurance that allowed me 55 hours after my accident to get to an operating table in South Africa,” she told Kristof. She added that the villages lack even “a simple pill to kill the pain when you’ve shattered a leg in four places and have nerve damage.”