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Donald (Dax) Cowart: Burn Victim

Bailey Droste and Bethany Harvath

Bailey Droste

on 7 November 2012

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Transcript of Donald (Dax) Cowart: Burn Victim

Bailey Droste and Bethany Harvath Donald (Dax) Cowart Accomplishments Donald or Dax Cowart is a severe burn victim. In 1966, Donald joined the Air Force after he graduated high school. He became a fighter pilot in Vietnam. In 1973, he was discharged from the Air Force. On July 23, 1972 at the age of 25, he and his father were visiting a tract of land that Dax was thinking about purchasing. Little did they know, a gas leak had caused the valley to become filled with propane gas. After surveying the land, they returned to their car, and the sparking of the ignition set the gas on the ground of the valley ablaze, severely burning both of them. Donald’s father died on the trip to the hospital. Dax made it to Burn Unit of Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas where he remained for 232 days. After all the surgery was finished, Dax had his fingers amputated, his right eye removed and his left eye was sewn shut. Time after time Donald tried to commit suicide. Dax refused treatment and stopped eating and drinking. Dax purposely refuses further surgery, crawls out of bed trying to find a window to use in a suicide attempt. Once again, Donald attempts suicide by crawling out to the road near home where he lived with his mother, hoping to be hit by a truck. He tried once more by overdosing on medication. Cowart eventually healed enough to be released from the hospital. Although blind and without functioning hands, Donald was able to earn a law degree from Texas Tech University in 1986, becoming an attorney. He successfully sued the oil company for his injuries which left him financially secure. Dax and Lois Randall, a nurse of 46, married in 1988. They divorced for unknown reasons, sometime after. Cowart has been a frequent participant and speaker at The Trial Lawyers College in Dubois, Wyoming with Gerry Spence. There he met Samantha Berryessa, a California attorney. They were married in 2003, and now live on a ranch outside San Diego California.
He now speaks publicly, while continuing his practice, on behalf of patient rights to crowds all over the United States and abroad.
Cowart's life and his reflections on what has happened to him continue to challenge medicine's understanding. A documentary of his journey titled Please Let Me Die was filmed in 1974, with a follow-up documentary titled Dax's Case filmed in 1984.

Donald (Dax) Cowart: Burn Victim After the incident Life after surgery
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