As the daughter of country music singer Naomi Judd and the half-sister of Wynonna Judd, actress and political activist Ashley Judd is no stranger to the spotlight. Following a harrowing accident in February 2021, Ashely decided to use her platform to raise awareness for the lack of access to healthcare in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
But what happened to her, anyway? Let's take a closer look at the accident that landed Ashley in an intensive care unit.
What happened to Ashley Judd?
On Feb. 12, 2021, the actress joined The New York Times journalist, Nicolas Kirstof, during an Instagram Live session. Ashley explained from a hospital bed that she was "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."
She added, "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."
Ashley went on to explain that she had shattered her leg in four places and suffered nerve damage. And although the actress was able to seek medical attention, she highlighted many Congolese people's lack of access to "a simple pill to kill the pain" in a similar circumstance.
Here's where you might want to skip over the details if you're squeamish about injuries.
Evidently, Ashley tripped over a fallen tree during an excursion after a malfunctioning head lamp made it difficult to see where she was going. She spent the next five hours lying on the forest floor — "with his leg under my badly misshapen leg, biting my stick, howling like a wild animal" — until she and her colleague were finally able to be evacuated.
After someone arrived to reset her bones, Ashley 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."
She then endured a six-hour motorcycle ride, during which one person drove and another person sat behind her in order to hold her up. Ashley proceeded to stay the night in a hut in the city of Jolu before she was flown to the capital, Kinshasa, for a day. After that, she traveled to South Africa in order to finally be treated in an ICU.
"I'm in a lot of love. I'm in a lot of compassion and I'm in a lot of gratitude," Ashley told The New York Times' Nicolas Kirstof during the Instagram Live. "I thank everyone for their thoughts and their prayers and their support."
Hopefully, Ashley Judd is able to make a full recovery from her harrowing injuries. In the meantime, it's pretty incredible that she's using her platform to acknowledge her privilege while shedding light on the lack of access to medical care in the Democratic Republic of Congo.