By Julie Mazziotta 

The “grueling 55-hour” rescue Ashley Judd experienced after shattering her leg was just the start of her lengthy recovery process.

After the 52-year-old actress made it out of the jungle in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where she had tripped over a fallen tree during a visit to see the endangered bonobos monkeys, she was flown to Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa for surgery.

“I arrived to them from DRC in terrible shape and my leg had no pulse,” Judd wrote. “I desperately needed a blood transfusion. Their sisters (nurses) are exemplary, technically top notch, and they cared for the trauma in my body as well as my soul with equal proficiency.”

Judd said the staff had to make “split second decisions upon my arrival” to figure out how to care for her significant injury.

Her surgeon, Dr. Eugene Greeff, “was super at stabilizing my leg with the external fixator until the massive soft tissue damage and swelling went down so that I could have the Big Operation.”

“What he did was significant and I am forever in his debt,” she said, adding that this all happened as South African hospitals were dealing with the COVID B.1.351 strain, a new, faster-spreading variant of COVID-19 that has worried health experts worldwide.

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