WEST HILLS, Calif. (KTLA) -- A teenage burn victim and so called "miracle man" is finally going home to start a new chapter in his life -- nearly a year after a devastating car crash.
Derek Thomas, 19, is leaving the West Hills Hospital and Medical Center today -- beating the odds and enduring a struggle that many worried he would not survive.
Thomas was on his way home to San Diego from a trip to Mammoth with friends and classmates on August 9, 2010 when the SUV he was riding in swerved, flipped and began to roll.
15 people were injured in the crash, three died at the scene. Thomas survived -- just barely.
He was taken by emergency jet to the Grossman Burn Center in West Hills -- unconscious.
Thomas suffered third degree burns over more than 85 percent of his body.
His prognosis was grim -- doctors only gave him a 1 percent chance of survival.
Dr. Peter Grossman says Thomas' burns were among the worst he'd ever seen.
The burns penetrated to the muscle, threatened to shut down his kidneys, his liver and his lungs. Dr. Grossman told family members that the odds were not good.
For four months, Thomas was recovering in an induced coma -- so he would not suffer the excruciating pain.
In November, he began to emerge from the coma after beating the odds.
In December he wowed his doctors and family with his first words since the accident, "Happy Birthday, Mom."
Thomas, surrounded by his family, left the hospital Tuesday with big plans for the future -- he wants to be a doctor.
Teen Burn Victim Defies Odds, Goes Home After Devastating Crash
19 year old Derek Thomas was only given a 1 percent chance of survival following a crash last August.
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