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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Jürgen, the man with the 1000 guardian angels

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Closing time on a Wednesday in October was imminent. In a new housing estate in Thyrnau, Bavaria, Jürgen Mayr-Steffeldemel and his colleagues are working on the creation of a garden. The employees of an excavator company were already making preparations for the next day. Mayr-Steffeldemel only had to mount the shell grab on the crane. He then climbs over the ship’s side onto a small platform, the difference in height to the ground is around two meters. When the 39-year-old took the first step onto the descent aid with his left foot, “it was as if someone had suddenly pulled it away from me,” says Mayr-Steffeldemel, who then fell – onto a 1.2 meter long iron bar.

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At first, however, he did not realize that the rod had pierced him diagonally upwards from the right hip. “I rested my elbow and hip on the pavement. I first looked to see if I broke something. But when I tried to put my legs together and I couldn’t, I realized something was wrong.”

While Schardenberger is talking about his unbelievable accident, he is already sitting at home at the dining table in good health.

rescue chain worked

The iron rod made its way through the liver and diaphragm, between the two lungs and just past the heart. What he benefited from: A smoothly functioning rescue chain and the exemplary help of his work colleagues. “If I had been alone, I would certainly have suffocated lying on the pole,” says Mayr-Steffeldemel. The junior boss who worked with him on the construction site is a trained paramedic. Together with his colleagues, he used a piece of wood as a wedge to bring the injured person into a stable supine position. They cut the pole off with a Akkuflex.

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In the meantime, a neighbor who had observed the course of the accident closely had already called the rescue service. The ambulance went to the Passau Clinic. In the helicopter, which was also on site, Mayr-Steffeldemel and the iron bar had no place. The patient arrived at the hospital just half an hour after the accident. “In order for me to fit into the computer tomograph, part of the iron rod had to be cut off again,” says Mayr-Steffeldemel. After the CT scan, the doctors cut the patient open frontally, fortunately he had no internal bleeding. The surgical team then opened up the skin where the end of the rod could be felt. Finally, she was carefully pulled out of the body from above. After an hour and a half, the operation was successfully completed.

Was he aware of the struggle for survival? “I never thought about dying. In addition, everything happened in quick succession, so you don’t have the opportunity to play with this thought,” says Mayr-Steffeldemel. The blood pressure was constant over the entire time, “I was always with myself and talked to everyone.” But of course he was aware that he was very lucky – even after the operation.

After only nine days in the intensive care unit and seven more days in the normal ward, Schardenberger was allowed to go home to his family. The healing is almost seamless. In January he starts a rehab in Graz, in the spring he wants to “attack again” – as a construction worker. “I like my job, working with machines and being out in the fresh air. Doing anything else was never an issue for me.” Even if everyday life returns over time, Jürgen Mayer-Steffeldemel still has this one day in October in the back of his mind and it will stay that way. “I’ve definitely appreciated life more since my accident.”


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Valentin Berghammer

Editorial office Innviertel

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