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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Siouxland native gains momentum after ‘fight with a railroad train’

March 08, 2017

With every catch, reach and bump, Doug Dickson is regaining his balance, coordination and strength at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals-Omaha Campus.

“Five or six weeks I’ve been here has gone really fast it’s good structure. You do the exercises and stuff. It’s not where you push you hard or anything,” said Doug.

Doug’s positive attitude, good rapport with staff and his amazing recovery are reasons why he received the Spirit Award early on in his recovery. This after …

“Just got in a fight with a railroad train.,” said Doug.

Doug’s fight with the train was in early January, near Remsen, Iowa.

“Just started down the highway, beautiful day, Friday, in a good mood. I’m just cruising along. Wasn’t really going that fast really or in a hurry or nothing …out of the corner of my eye I caught the train,” said Doug.

Doug’s 46-years experience as a truck driver kicked into overdrive: he steered the truck in the same direction the train was headed to avoid a head-on collision and prepared for what happened next.

“I remember the impact, tremendous impact … I’m in the truck looking around and I see all these people crawling all over my truck,” said Doug.

Emergency crews cut Doug out of the cab and drove him to safety. He ended up at Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City, Iowa, with broken bones to his leg, shoulder and ribs and a punctured lung.

“’Cause they told the wife and the kids it was a  50/50 deal,” said Doug.

But today Doug’s 100 percent confident in his newly acquired skills and being independent when he heads home.

“You got to the right place the first time and you get it done. That way it’s done right and then you don’t have to fight it the rest of your life," said Doug.

Doug's recovery is covered by one of his hometown television stations.