What to Know
- Few can say they’ve survived a traumatic injury, especially those caused by an oncoming train, but Phillip Buffone has beaten the odds
- On Sept. 25, the White Plains resident was waiting for his train at the Yonkers Metro-North station, became dizzy, fell on the tracks
- After falling, Buffone was hit by an oncoming train; His injuries were so severe that his body was nearly severed in half, yet he survived
A walking miracle. That is one sure way to describe Phillip Buffone.
Few people can say that they’ve survived a severe traumatic injury — especially those caused by an oncoming train, but 36-year-old Buffone has beaten the odds.
On Sept. 25, the White Plains resident was waiting for his train at the Yonkers Metro North station, until he became dizzy, fell on the tracks and was hit by an oncoming train.
Buffone was rushed to NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi. His injuries were so severe that his body was nearly severed in half. According to hospital personnel, his lacerations extended from his spine around to his front — so much so that his intestines were exposed.
However, presented with such a severe trauma, the priority of the doctors that were tasked with saving him was not to close up the laceration as fast as possible.
“Contrary to what you might expect, closing the huge laceration that nearly divided him in two was not the first priority. Repairing the internal damage and preventing infection from all that was introduced to his body were priorities,” trauma team surgeon Dr. Srinivas Reddy said in a statement, explaining that the team of doctors cleansed and reconstructed vital organs.
In addition to the organ trauma, Buffone also suffered rib and leg fractures and sustained nerve damage to one arm.
“It wasn’t easy, and he required 25 units of blood to make it through the repairs. I’m still amazed he’s alive,” Reddy said.
Buffone remembers none of this. He has no recollection of the accident or the three weeks following the harrowing incident.
Buffone faced a long road to recovery — remaining sedated and on a ventilator for three weeks to minimize his movements.
“He was intubated and sedated for approximately three weeks with an injury that few would survive,” Dr. Zachary Sharfman said.
After being brought out of sedation, he spent two more weeks receiving rehabilitation in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit of the hospital.
Dr. John Bliton said that in the SICU, medical personnel worked with Buffone to “recuperate and stabilize his vital signs,” adding that more “surgeries to fix the broken bones in his leg and return the blood supply to his left side extremities” were scheduled during his time at SICU.
On Nov. 2, weeks after his near-death accident, Buffone recovered enough to be transferred to a rehabilitation facility close to his home.
“The fact that Mr. Buffone was able to walk out of our does and go to rehab is nothing short of a miracle,” Reddy said.
Buffone said that during his recovery, the doctors and nurses “were great.”
“I was almost cut completely in half, and they saved my life. They actually taught me how to walk again. I can’t say enough about them,” he said.
The National Transportation Safety Board said the agency did not open an investigation into the incident involving Buffone.
The MTA did not immediately respond to request for comment.