What started out as a normal day back in 2016 turned out to be life-changing for Justin Choate when the 4-wheeler he was riding hit a dog and rolled end over end. Justin was severely injured and laying on the ground. The dog that was hit limped home and alerted family members to the incident where they found him on the ground in the road. LIFE EMS transported Justin to St. Mary’s Regional Center in Enid and was then flown by helicopter to OU Trauma Center in Oklahoma City where he spent 2 weeks in OU Trauma ICU and then 3 weeks at Jim Thorpe Rehab Center in OKC.
With all of the back damage this left Justin bent over and unable to stand up straight. Even with all the pain Justin never lost his sense of humor, he jokes, “I walked around bent over looking at the ground for money, but never did find any!”
This got progressively worse causing damage to his internal organs. Justin underwent 6 surgeries on his back and was told this is it. There is nothing more we can do. Desperate for relief he sought out doctors for help. He was told by several that there was nothing they could do because his back was too badly damaged.
Earlier this year Justin’s pain management doctor introduced him to Dr. John Burke MD that had just started to have office hours at St. Mary’s. After the meeting, Justin said, “Dr. Burke said ‘I can fix this,’ he was totally optimistic.” On February 20th Justin underwent a 12-hour operation where the doctors installed 27 rods in his back to straighten his spine. After 2 weeks in OU ICU recovering and ongoing rehab, Justin is standing up and looking forward, rather than at the ground.
Justin said, “I’m still doing benefit auctions but no more 4-wheelers or cattle. I’m just selling trailers now (referring to his company DC Trailers) I don’t have to chase them like cattle. I want to thank Dr. Burke, he is one of the most humble men I know, and I’m very thankful for what he did to help me.”