Crash survivor returns to the scene of his recovery start at Mission Viejo hospital – Orange County Register

Paul Bersebach


A former patient got the chance Thursday, Jan. 11, to thank the doctors and staff at Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo who likely saved his life.

Jackson Gutierrez was visiting Orange County with a friend in 2021 when he was a passenger in a car crash on Newport Coast Drive near Sage Hill School. He was pinned when the car slammed into a tree and rescued as it caught fire and became engulfed in flames.

The crash killed the driver and left Gutierrez with both legs amputated above the knee, second and third degree burns, a traumatic brain injury and broken bones.

“It’s important for me to come back and say thank you,” Gutierrez said after talking with some of his care team from two years earlier.

Staff members asked about his recovery and praised his strength following the accident.

“This is the best part of our job”, said Physician Assistant Ashley Mergelmeyer. “It’s very gratifying to have patients come back.”

Gutierrez is pursuing his undergraduate degree in psychology at Texas A&M and is considering graduate school.

“There’s so many times I’ve fallen down, both figuratively and literally, and had the option to stay down or get up and fight another day,” he said. “I’ve been knocked down and could have stayed down. But I chose not to.”

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2024-01-11 22:44:37 , Mission Viejo News: The Orange County Register

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