Driver recovers after 11-tonne loader flips on highway

14th June 2017 4:25 PM
UPDATED 15th June 8:48 AM
ON THE MEND: John Johnson with Annie Collins and son Mark, wife Karen and daughter Sarah Johnson. ON THE MEND: John Johnson with Annie Collins and son Mark, wife Karen and daughter Sarah Johnson.

WHEN he was wheeled back to his hospital room following a six-hour surgery on Monday, John Johnson declared "I'm on the mend!" - and he was right.

Mr Johnson was seriously injured last month when the 11-tonne loader he was driving tipped over on the Warrego Hwy and pinned him underneath.

But after undergoing surgery a number of times since the accident, MrJohnson might return home in a matter of weeks - much earlier than doctors first thought.

Mr Johnson's injuries included a cracked left shoulder blade, damage to his right shoulder, broken ribs, a perforated bowel, burst bladder, broken pelvis, broken femur in his right leg and a broken right foot.

"He's amazing them with his recovery," Mr Johnson's wife Karen said.

"When I first spoke to the trauma doctor... he had major surgery after 11 days and was in an induced coma for nine days and they were saying to me his recovery could be a three- to six-month time frame."

On Monday, Mr Johnson underwent intensive surgery - his final procedure for the time being - at the Princess Alexandra to fix his broken pelvis.

"He had surgery yesterday for the third time in three weeks," MrsJohnson said.

"They were planning on screwing his pelvis back together but because it had meshed together by itself they just had to manipulate it, so it went better than expected.

"They've put a rod in his femur and have wired his feet. They'll x-ray him and then determine a plan for physio and start him as soon as they can."

While Mr Johnson will have to rely on a wheelchair for a period of time when he returns home, doctors expect him to make a full recovery within six months.

"His trauma doctor said he's a very lucky man," MrsJohnson said.

"He said to me that everything that was broken on Johnno can be fixed. I just said to him 'there is no luck involved here'."

Mrs Johnson said "someone was looking after" her husband the day of the accident.

"It's taken a lot of prayers. A lot of people in the Northern Territory and down south and overseas have been contacting us and saying they're praying for us, and there seems to be this bush telegraph thing going on."

Mrs Johnson said it took a tragedy like the one her family had suffered to be reminded of the positives in life.

"Johnno will be slowed down. It puts life in perspective but it's all good and we will certainly be having a party when we get home," she said.

"Johnno just wants to get home to Chinchilla - to the cows and the Condamine River."