A teenager who survived a horrific forklift accident has defied the odds to survive, despite being left with no lower body.
Loren Schauers was just 19 when the forklift he was driving veered off a bridge, plummeting him 50ft and pinning him beneath the four ton vehicle. The young labourer remained awake and conscious throughout and could see his right arm explode and everything below his hips was crushed.
In order to save his life, Loren agreed for medics to perform life saving hemicorperectomy surgery, where everything below his waist was amputated.
Doctors told his devastated girlfriend Sabia Reiche that he wouldn't survive, and she said tearful goodbyes to him six times. However, Loren miraculously pulled through the devastating incident.
The pair had only been together for 18 months when the accident happened, but have said the ordeal brought them closer together. They got engaged recently and are currently planning their wedding.
Loren, from Great Falls in Montana, said: "I was conscious throughout everything so I actually watched as the forklift fell on top of me and crushed my body.
"Every medical professional I come across is pretty amazed by everything, especially with the story that comes along with my injuries. It wasn't a hard choice to have half of my body amputated - it was basically a choice of living or dying."
Loren was working as a labourer on a construction site during a bridge rehabilitation job in September 2019. As he was driving a forklift over a highway bridge, cars began illegally passing him in through the traffic lights. The oncoming traffic forced into a single lane and as one car passed him, Loren veered too close to the bridge edge and felt the ground crumble beneath him.
As the forklift truck fell, Loren attempted to jump from the vehicle but was trapped by the seatbelt, which swung him from the machinery as it plummeted 50ft. The forklift then rolled three times down the hill before pinning Loren to the ground at the bottom of the hill, crushing his body.
Loren said: "As the edge of the bridge collapsed and the forklift started to tip up, I unbuckled my seatbelt and went to jump out. I now know that was the wrong idea but it was just fight or flight.
"The seatbelt ended up wrapping around my leg as I jumped out so I actually swung out instead and broke one of my ribs off the floorboard of the forklift. I tried staying on top of the forklift as much as I could as it rolled and then I was thrown from the forklift at the end of the hill once it finally landed.
"I was conscious the whole time. My eyes were wide open and I saw the forklift come down and land on my hips and my right forearm. I remember looking to my right with the forklift on top of my body and there was big old piece of muscle from my arm just lying on the ground next to me. It had just blown apart instantly from the impact."
An air ambulance transported Loren to a hospital in Bozeman, Montana, where his life saving surgery would be carried out.
Loren had completely lost his right forearm and hand in the accident and broken his right collarbone and shoulder. He suffered a pulmonary embolism and was forced into using a breathing tube.
As a result of his lower body having been crushed in the accident, Loren made the brave decision to have emergency hemicorporectomy surgery, where everything below his waist is amputated.
Loren said: "They thought my lower extremities were still salvageable.The doctors tied off my main veins down below and took scans of my body to see what state it was in there and they realised my pelvis had completely crumbled.
"I was transferred to Seattle, Washington, by mercy flight where they first performed a surgery leaving my right hip, genitalia, and left thigh.
"Once they had also seen the state of my pelvis, that’s where it was then deemed that I’d need a hemicorporectomy surgery. They then tried saving my sperm with my consent but it turned out to not be viable."
As a result of his surgery, Loren lost his lower body - including his genitalia. The couple have repeatedly been asked how the pair have sex, which they have branded as 'disrespectful'.
Responding to the question of sex on a recent Q&A, Sabia said: "A question we get repeatedly is how do we have sex and how do we become intimate.
"That is a very personal question that we are never going to answer or allude to as it's very disrespectful.
"You wouldn't ask a random couple on the street how they have sex and just because our life circumstances are different, it doesn't give people the right to ask."
The pair recently became engaged and plan to get married on their anniversary date of 17 July.
Girlfriend Sabia opened up: "Going through this together has definitely strengthened a lot of the aspects of our relationship. It has made us a lot more appreciative of the little things that we used to take for granted as a couple before."
Loren added: "I have a very simple life now compared to what it used to be. There's a lot more laying around than before. It was about three months after the accident that I finally wrapped my head around how crazy and miraculous it really is for me to be alive.
"We want to travel the world first and then have some kids and teach them to be better people than we are, so a pretty simplistic life.
"I proposed to Sabia earlier this year when she was freaking out from having a bad day. I waited for her to turn around then pulled out the ring and just waited for her to notice it in my hand before asking if she’d marry me."
Despite his ordeal, Loren remains positive: "My best advice to anyone going through something like this is that you can't focus on the things you can't have and you must live your life to the fullest with what you do have."Featured Image Credit: SWNS