Trauma survivors honored and reunited with first-responders who helped saved their lives

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- People who came close to death, are now walking and talking almost as if nothing happened, and many of them credit the medical expertise in Houston with their second chances.

At just 21 years old, Diego Rodriguez came close to death after he failed to wear a helmet while helping with a home improvement project.

"It's the biggest mistake of my life," said Rodriguez.

That mistake was proven when he hit his head on a nail gun propped on a ladder.

And, even with the nail embedded in his brain, Rodriguez was still on his feet.

Tuesday night, the Harris Health System honored these survivors like Rodriguez and reunited some with the paramedics, doctors, and nurses who saved them.

This ceremony also included Houstonian, Marrisa Rotenberry, who survived a traumatic car accident while studying in Nacogdoches.

"When the car slid off the road to the right, my side was where most of the impact was," said Rotenberry.

Amazingly, Rotenberry's accident was just months ago and she's already thriving and making sure others know she's much more than just the trauma she endured.

"Without having an arm there's a lot of things that are just harder to do now, but it's about learning when to ask for help and when to try a little harder," said Rotenberry.

Other survivors were reunited with those who helped save their lives.

"We always see them at the worst of times, so it's really nice to see them when they fully recover," said Director of Emergency Medical Services David Persse about this reunion.

Each survivor is now sharing the lessons they've learned.
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