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Ashley Judd Is in ICU After Shattering Her Leg in an 'Incredibly Harrowing' Ordeal

Jen Juneau
·3 min read
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Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd is opening up about an accident she suffered in the Congo region of Africa that sent her to an intensive care unit.

Speaking from her hospital bed with The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof for an Instagram Live, the 52-year-old actress said she is "in 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."

"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," added Judd.

She also stressed her own privilege by citing many Congolese people's "lack of" access to "a simple pill to kill the pain when you've shattered a leg in four places and have nerve damage."

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The Divergent actress went on to detail how the accident occurred, explaining that a faulty head lamp made it difficult for her to see during one excursion and she tripped over a fallen tree, breaking her leg.

Judd described the next 55 hours as "incredibly harrowing," and said the ordeal "started with five hours of lying on the forest floor" with one of her colleagues until she was able to be evacuated.

"With his leg under my badly misshapen leg, biting my stick," she said, holding up the piece of wood in question. "Howling like a wild animal."

Someone was able to arrive to reset her bones at the end of the fifth hour, during which the actress was "going into shock" and "passing out" due to the pain.

Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Ashley Judd

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Judd next spent "an 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" to make it back to their camp.

She then rode on a motorcycle for six hours to get to her next destination, with one person driving and one behind her holding her up, and recognizes her "privilege" in being able to pay someone for the ride.

Judd spent the night "in a hut" in the city of Jolu next, before being flown to the capital of Kinshasa to stay for 24 hours and then, eventually, down to South Africa to be treated in an ICU in that country.

"I'm in a lot of love. I'm in a lot of compassion and I'm in a lot of gratitude," the actress said earlier in the conversation. "I thank everyone for their thoughts and their prayers and their support."