Herman Johnson

Herman Johnson, a construction crew supervisor, stopped at his ex-wife’s house to pick up his children, ages 7 and 6. Without warning, he was peppered with gunshots.

EMTs took him to the Ginni and Richard Mithoff Trauma Center at Ben Taub Hospital. He would later learn he had been shot 12 times: four in his right leg, two in the top of his left leg, two in his stomach, two under his heart and one in each arm. But he didn’t find this out for quite a while. He was kept in a medically induced coma from December 9, 2015 until March 23, 2016.

His care was not without drama. At one point, his heart stopped, and doctors massaged it outside his body. Herman was later told the procedure works one in 99 times, and it was a first for the doctors who were with him at the time. He had five surgeries.

“I’m friends with lots of doctors because of my care,” says Herman. A gentle man, he says that even during his coma, people visited just to talk with him. He has a special connection with his doctors and caregivers.

He and his partner, Jennifer, are amazed he is alive today. Herman received 42 pints of blood and had a breathing tube for more than three months. He left the hospital with a nephrostomy and a colostomy. His right leg was paralyzed; because the arteries were so badly damaged, doctors have recommended amputation. Other operations are in the future. Between his surgeons and primary care physician at Acres Home Health Center, he believes he has the best doctors in the world.

“Ben Taub is one of the best trauma centers in the country,” Herman says. “Everyone, doctors and nurses, took awesome care of me. Everyone knows me by name. When I go to the hospital for an appointment, everyone comes out to visit.

“This experience has changed me. When I was in my coma, I saw everything in my past and my future. Today I remember everything. I love life and I appreciate all parts of it, from the morning dew to a squirrel building a nest. I notice.”

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