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Falling, Laying Unconscious For Days Left Md. Man Technically Dead, But Now He's Recovering

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A Howard County man's life was forever changed last March after he fell down a flight of stairs. Lying unconscious for days, TJ Scanlon actually died.

Coming home after a Saturday night out with friends, he reached for his spare key to his Columbia apartment, lost his balance and plummeted 20 feet down a concrete stairwell.

He lay there, barely alive, for two days. A worried co-worker and Scanlon's roommate eventually found their friend, clinging to life.

"It was a rough scene," Scanlon says. "I was down, I was moaning, my eyes were rolling in the back of my head, I was in a pool of dry blood...

I was blue, my legs were grayish... my legs were black, my hands were black... I was alive, luckily. Still alive at that point."

When Howard County EMTs saw how badly he was hurt, they radioed for more help. A helicopter flew him to University of Maryland Shock Trauma.

"He was effectively dead for 90 minutes," says Dr. H. Neal Reynolds. "This is a case like I have never seen before. This man was brought back from the dead."

The doctors, and Scanlon, say its a miracle.

"I had a spinal cord injury, my leg was basically septic and on top of it, I had coded," Scanlon says. "And yeah, I was dead."

Doctors were forced to amputate his left leg and fingertips, because he spent days in the freezing cold. His spinal cord injury left him paralyzed from the chest down. Instead of giving up, he fought harder than ever to live.

After more than two months and 29 operations at Shock Trama, the even harder work began. His recovery is also called a miracle -- a result of his unbreakable spirit, love and support and the best medicine out there.

And even though he still has a long road ahead, Scanlon says he's staying positive and is grateful to be alive.

"I'm going to push myself as far as I can and then I'm going to continue to live my life...I believe in faith very much and I think for whatever reason, I was meant to be there that night, but I was meant to survive... I was meant to carry on."

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