Double Jeopardy actress Ashley Judd revealed she endured an “incredibly harrowing ordeal” in order to receive medical attention after a compound leg break left her “lying on the forest floor” for five hours of a Congolese rainforest.
In an Instagram Live interview, Judd broke down how a tumble in the jungle led to a stressful 55 hour journey to receive medical attention half a continent away. After venturing into the rainforest on a night excursion with a faulty headlamp that reduced visibility, she tripped over a fallen tree and broke her leg in four places.
A colleague sat on the ground with the actress while she was “howling like a wild animal”, with “his leg under my badly misshapen leg, biting my stick,” she explained while holding up said stick.
When help arrived five hours later, Judd went into shock and passed out while multiple bones were reset without pain medication. She spent the next hour and a half in a hammock, “being carried out of the rainforest by my Congolese brothers, who were doing it barefoot, up and over hills, through the river,” towards their camp.
Next she rode on a motorcycle for six hours while one person drove and another held her up throughout the journey, then spent the night “in a hut” in the city of Jolu. Judd was evacuated to a hospital in the capital of Kinshasa, where she stayed for a day, before it was determined her case was to advanced to be handled in country, and she was flown to South Africa for treatment.
Judd gave the interview from “an ICU trauma unit in beautiful South Africa, which has taken me in from the Congo: a country I deeply love which is not, unfortunately, equipped to deal with massive catastrophic injuries like I have had.”
The Kiss the Girls star explained that the people of the Congo don’t have access to even, “a simple pill to kill the pain when you’ve shattered a leg in four places and have nerve damage.”
Noting her privilege when she concluded, “And the difference between a Congolese person and me is disaster insurance that allowed me 55 hours after my accident to get to an operating table in South Africa.”