ENTERPRISE — An Enterprise man is recovering in Seattle after falling into a creek by his home and breaking several vertebrae.
The family of Sam Morgan, however, is counting their blessings that Morgan, 75, not only is still alive after a frightening ordeal that left him in Trout Creek for an estimated 90 minutes or more, but that he doesn’t appear to have any paralysis or adverse effects from hypothermia.
“That’s our first blessing — No. 1, he is alive,” his sister, Susan Wagner, told the Chieftain Friday, Jan. 21. “No. 2, he is not paralyzed. He can move all extremities.”
Wagner said her brother is not dealing with skin turning black or has lost fingers or toes from the time in the icy water.
“He doesn’t seem to be experiencing any of that,” she said.
Morgan, who just celebrated his 75th birthday, Wagner said, was “doing stuff outside” at his home around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, Jan. 12.
“He has a little bridge that crosses Trout Creek,” she said.
While crossing the bridge, he slipped.
“(He) fell across the bridge and broke several vertebrae in his back, and fell into Trout Creek,” she said. The fall was between 10 and 15 feet.
Morgan was unable to pull himself from the water, Wagner said. Eventually, he got himself rested on the bank, though still up to his chest in water.
When he was delayed returning home, his son, Samuel Drake Morgan, went to check on him. He heard his father yelling, and eventually found him in the creek. He was located at around 12:30 p.m., Wagner said.
“He jumped over the bank to get Sam out, but he couldn’t,” Wagner said. “They called the ambulance, it came, (and) it took them six guys to get him out of Trout Creek.”
According to Wagner, Morgan’s temperature had dropped to 81 degrees. He had three broken vertebrae in his upper back, one or two in his lower back, and three cracked ribs.
He was originally LifeFlighted to St. Alphonsus in Boise for surgery, but ran into a snag there.
Due to the hospital being overrun by COVID-19 patients, “they didn’t have room for him in recovery,” Wagner said.
Morgan was transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and, after a 24-hour wait, had a 10-hour surgery, according to Wagner. She said he’ll be transferred to a rehabilitation center near Harborview “today or tomorrow.”
The family believes that there have been several miracles in recent days that have led to Morgan being in the place he is.
“God provided so many miracles, and we already know that,” she said. “Him not being paralyzed, him living to begin with. … We just recognize the blessing that God has given us all along. And Sam does, too.”
Wagner said she has spoken with Morgan since the surgery, and described him as being “in good spirits, but it’s hurting him.”
She also said he has been conveying a message of love to many people who have been on his mind in the days since his fall.
“Sam would say he really loves everybody, and thanks everybody for their prayers,” Wagner said. “He just wants to let everyone know. He thinks about a lot of these people he knows. That’s what he’s been telling me all along — call this person and let me know I love them. He wants to let other people know God’s with them. … And what a miracle it is that he is alive and not paralyzed in any way.”
Several funds have been set up to help Morgan with medical bills. Wagner said Community Bank locations are taking donations for the Sam Morgan Memorial Fund. There is also a GoFundMe page set up at https://gofund.me/93d4e53c.