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Paramedic Reunites with Patient One Year Later


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Almost a year to the day his car slammed into a tree and flipped upside down on the East Longmeadow Police Department’s lawn, Michael Speight finally meets Jason Budlong, the AMR paramedic he credits with saving his life.

It turns out that Budlong has been thinking about him too.

“For the past year it was, ‘This poor kid’. This 19-year-old kid. You would see it and be sad. So it’s a very nice turnaround for him to come in,” Budlong smiled.

Speight is Grateful that he’s here to do so.  “They had to take my spleen out, traumatic brain injury, broken collar bone, broken shoulder, right shoulder, broken eye socket,” recalled Speight.

“I was genuinely shocked. My prognosis from 20 years of doing this, I was like, uh this isn’t good. I honestly expected him to be on a ventilator on a vegetative state forever,” Budlong stated.

After the accident, Speight was a coma for two and a half weeks. Doctors had the same prognosis Jason did, until he woke up.

Speight would spend time rehabilitating in Boston and Worcester, before being able to go back home in December. “Playing was major. Music is one of the only things that stimulates every part of your brain & also playing helps both hemispheres reconnect. Definitely major,” said Speight.

Now the two connect like old friends. Budlong is happy that Speight proved him wrong.

Speight isn’t stopping there. He says he’s working with East Longmeadow’s DPW to replant the tree he destroyed. He’ll do that later on this spring.

Speight is also back in school at Holyoke Community College, and is taking his driving test next month.

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