Advances in Surgery Helped Repair Hiram Marin's Spine

Hiram Marin was volunteering at his church when his good deed went awry. As the 32-year-old was standing on a ladder installing cabling, he fell through the roof and landed on his back.

“I knew I had fallen 14 feet, but I felt fine at first,” Hiram said. “I remember everyone around me being much more concerned than I was.”

Despite the pleas of others, Hiram drove home and did not see a doctor until three days later, when he ended up at the emergency room at Medical City Arlington. Scans revealed major damage to his C6 vertebrae, which is near the base of the neck and often corresponds with spinal cord injuries.

“I’ve seen fractures of this type that had very different outcomes,” said Gregory Ward, MD, a Medical City Arlington neurosurgeon who repaired Marin’s spine. “Hiram could have been paralyzed. He was very lucky.”

According to the CDC, falls from ladders result in 90,000 ER visits annually. Those cases usually surge starting in the fall and peaking over the holidays when people are decorating in and around their homes.

Marin says he is grateful for medical advances in spine surgery that allowed him to get back on his feet and resume a normal life.

“I feel very blessed through all of this and I’m grateful for everyone that helped me,” he said. “The people who helped me after the fall, all of the doctors, nurses and case managers at the hospital, and my family.”

Ladder Safety Tips

  • Use a ladder that safely reaches higher levels (extends at least 3 feet over the working surface)
  • Have someone steady the ladder
  • Place the ladder on firm, level ground away from doors that can be opened
  • Fully open the ladder by checking all rung locks and spreader braces