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Teen recovers from 9-story suicide jump

/ Source: The Associated Press

A teenager who jumped from his ninth-floor bedroom window in a suicide attempt is recovering, but doctors are unsure whether he will walk again.

Jordan Burnham, 18, still cannot stand on his reconstructed left leg, which was shattered in the Sept. 28 leap from his apartment complex. But his recovery has amazed both him and his doctors.

"Nine stories. It's amazing that I'm still alive," he told The Philadelphia Inquirer for a story in Sunday's editions.

Burnham, a high school senior in King of Prussia outside Philadelphia, was suffering from depression before he jumped out of his bedroom window and hit the ground at 50 mph. He landed on his left side and broke his pelvis, and his left leg was shattered above and below the knee.

His left wrist, skull and jaw were fractured. There was extensive internal bleeding.

"The fact that he fell nine stories certainly puts his survival as sort of an exceptional event," said trauma surgeon Patrick Reilly, who treated Burnham. "Someone who falls nine stories, the majority of those patients should die, many before they ever reach medical attention."

Burnham survived the fall because he landed on earth instead of asphalt, and because he did not land on his head or neck, doctors said. He was also young and fit and received immediate medical attention.

Burnham was treated at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for 89 days before he was moved to a rehab hospital, where he remains.

With the help of three therapists last week, Burnham stood on his right leg for one minute. Doctors can't promise he'll walk, but won't rule it out.