FLORISSANT, Mo. (KMOX) – A former Florissant Police officer is set to have a bullet removed from his spine next week.
On May 28, 2012, Michael Vernon was shot three times following a search during a burglary call. Despite his bullet proof vest, one bullet hit his spine. That same day, surgeons told Vernon they wouldn’t touch the bullet due to the high risk of the procedure.
“I kind of see it as doctors, when it comes to spinal cord injuries, they kind of just throw a wheel chair at you and say ‘hey, this is the best we’re going to give you,'” Vernon says.
Vernon has spent his time in a wheel chair since being shot.
The 34-year-old says he can’t accept that, so he found a surgeon who will attempt to remove the bullet from next Wednesday. If all goes according to plan, Vernon says he is headed to Panama for a month of stem cell therapy.
“They’ll do 16 injections in the spine and they do a very very rigorous rehab,” he says.
Despite the fatal risks, Vernon says he isn’t going to let this be his downfall.
Vernon’s spinal surgery is covered by workers compensation, but the stem cell procedure will cost $30,000 out of pocket.