Ashley Judd says she ‘had no pulse’ in her shattered leg after ‘grueling 55-hour’ accident rescue

Ashley Judd is on her way to recovery.

On Monday, the actress took to Instagram where she detailed her “grueling 55-hour” rescue after shattering her leg.

The 52-year-old made it out of the jungle in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where she tripped over a fallen tree. Judd was flown to Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa for surgery.

Yahoo! Entertainment previously reported that the “Double Jeopardy” actress travels to the Congo about twice a year because her “life partner” runs a research camp there. In the U.S., she’s known for backcountry camping.


Ashley Judd broke her leg in four places and suffered nerve damage in a fall.

Ashley Judd broke her leg in four places and suffered nerve damage in a fall. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

“I arrived to them from DRC in terrible shape and my leg had no pulse,” Judd wrote. “I desperately needed a blood transfusion. Their sisters (nurses) are exemplary, technically top notch, and they cared for the trauma in my body as well as my soul with equal proficiency.”

According to the star, her surgeon Dr. Eugene Greeff “was super at stabilizing my leg with the external fixator until the massive soft tissue damage and swelling went down so that I could have the Big Operation.”

“What he did was significant and I am forever in his debt,” Judd added.

Judd noted the hospitals in South Africa have been dealing with the COVID B.1.351 strain, which is recognized as a new, faster-spreading variant of the coronavirus. Her father, Michael Ciminella, had already received his vaccine for COVID-19 and was able to fly out to Johannesburg.


Ashley Judd detailed her painful experience on Instagram.

Ashley Judd detailed her painful experience on Instagram. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

“My beloved Dad, who had gotten the text no parent ever wants: “emergency, can’t answer questions, please come now,” had indeed, because he is vaccinated, been able to come to South Africa,” she wrote. “He has been my rock, companion, resource, helped me listen to so many doctors, critical support system, and kind, loving presence as I have wept and wept. We then made the 22 hour – 4 flights – to America thanks to unbelievably efficient disaster travel insurance on an Air Ambulance.”

Judd said that once she was at an American hospital she had to wait “for the tissue damage and swelling to reduce.”

“Eventually I was qualified to have the 8-hour surgery to repair the bones, decompress the hemorrhaging nerve and pick the shards of bones out of the nerve,” she revealed. “I am now recovering from surgery.”

Judd also took the time to thank her entire care team during the horrific ordeal.

“I’m very thankful to all of the experts, including… my Pop, who is rubbing my foot to remind my foot while it still cannot move that it is connected to my body,” she wrote. “I am up and around already. Thank you for your care and kind words.  Let us always remember those without insurance.  Let us remember those who do not have choices. Let us remember those who are lonely and afraid.”

Judd previously shared that she “will walk again” but doesn’t have a “time frame” for recovery.

Fox News’ Nate Day contributed to this report

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