A young black bear survived a coma and paralysis and went on to make a full recovery, thanks to dedicated wildlife rehabilitators in New York.
In the summer of 2012, a young black bear was brought to the Orphaned Wildlife Center after being hit by a car. “Frankie,” as he came to be known, was in a coma and had a badly broken leg as a result. He remained in a coma for three days; when he woke up, rehabilitators realized that he was completely paralyzed and only able to blink his eyes and move his mouth.
Realizing what bad shape he was in, staff at the Orphaned Wildlife Center decided that if he showed no signs of improvement after one week, he would be put to sleep to end his suffering.
To start his recovery, staff fed Frankie baby food and raw eggs through a syringe to give him the nutrition he desperately needed. He continued to improve over the coming days, and by the end of the week he was able to move his hind legs, head, and arms slightly.
Over the course of the second week, his appetite improved, he was able to hold his head up, and he was able to roll himself over.
He received round-the-clock care, including massage and physical therapy, as he was only able to lie on his back during this time. Surprisingly, he never tried to bite any of his caretakers and actually seemed to enjoy their company!
Frankie slowly regained the use of his limbs. By day 14, the veterinarian felt that he was ready to have the bones in his leg set. The 5-hour operation was successful, and after only one week he was able to stand up and hobble around.
Four months after he was originally brought in, Frankie was moved into an enclosure where he would begin to become acquainted with the other bears as he continued to heal. A few months later, he was incorporated into the group that accepted him almost immediately.
Frankie completely recovered and playing with other bears.
Because of the large amount of human interaction Frankie received, his caretakers knew that he would likely not do well in the wild. He now has a permanent home at the Orphaned Wildlife Center along with 11 other resident bears.
Check out this video featuring one of Orphaned Wildlife Center’s other famous bears: