Ashley Judd has opened up about the shocking details of her injury in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which led to a “grueling 55-hour odyssey” to save her leg.

As People reported, Judd was at a research camp to track endangered bonobos when she stumbled over a fallen tree in the dark. In an Instagram post, she described the difficult journey to receive medical attention for her shattered leg, which had broken in four places and received significant nerve damage.

“Without my Congolese brothers and sisters, my internal bleeding would have likely killed me, and I would have lost my leg,” Judd wrote. “I wake up weeping in gratitude, deeply moved by each person who contributed something life giving and spirit salving during my grueling 55 hour odyssey.” Six men, who she described as “heros,” carried her in a hammock for “3 hours over rough terrain,” before she was transferred onto a motorbike. After that, the ordeal got even scarier. 

Ashley Judd revealed that her leg "had no pulse" after the accident

The Double Jeopardy star was then flown to Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa for surgery. “I arrived to them from DRC in terrible shape and my leg had no pulse,” Ashley Judd revealed in another Instagram post, showing the nurses and doctors who treated her. “I desperately needed a blood transfusion. Their sisters (nurses) are exemplary, technically top notch, and they cared for the trauma in my body as well as my soul with equal proficiency.”

Once Judd’s leg had been stabilized by her surgeon, Dr. Eugene Keef, the “massive soft tissue damage and swelling” went down enough for her surgery to go ahead. “What he did was significant and I am forever in his debt,” she vowed, thanking all the members of staff who worked on her injury. Since her dad had been vaccinated, he was able to come to the Democratic Republic of Congo and accompany her on the 22-hour journey home, which entailed four separate flights. Finally, Judd went through an 8-hour surgery in an American hospital.

The actress and activist, who has been a UNFPA Ambassador since 2016, noted that she had received this medical care in South Africa while the country’s hospitals faced a new strain of COVID-19. “Sunninghill is world class and a wonder,” Judd concluded. Here’s wishing Judd a speedy recovery.

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