Next Step Patient Paul Zanelli Life Returns To 'The Old Normal'
After lying in the hospital for 33 days, Paul Zanelli said he'd had enough. His shattered foot and ankle weren't getting any better, and he couldn't stay still. He jokingly recalled telling the doctors, "I got s*** to do, cut here," referring to his leg.
After discussing his options, the doctors agreed if it was their leg they would choose amputation.
For 37 years, Zanelli, of Tewksbury Township in Hunterdon County, has been helping save lives as a volunteer emergency medical technician and firefighter. He's a helper and was aiding a family member on Nov. 18, 2016, when an excavator flipped over, crushing his lower right leg.
Zanelli said he blacked out from the pain. He was airlifted to a trauma center where X-rays revealed the bones in his foot and lower leg had been shattered into more than 25 fragments. His leg was too swollen for surgery.
For the next 33 days, Zanelli was confined to a hospital bed waiting and hoping for his leg to heal. With Christmas drawing near, Zanelli said he was done waiting and was willing to have his deteriorating leg amputated.
On Dec. 23, he woke up after surgery with his right leg amputated just below the knee. Four days later he went home, determined to get back to normal. Read Full Article