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Electrocuted Inventor Rusty Haughey Inspires With Memory Loss Smile

Ever wondered what happens to a person who got electrocuted? Aside from scenes we see in cartoons and comedy acts, this actually happens in real life!

Take Rusty Haughey for example. He's a veteran who became disabled as a result of being electrocuted. His disability did not stop him from inventing some very complex machinery and getting it patented.

Rusty Haughey, the electrocuted inventor.
Electrocuted Inventor Rusty Haughey
See Rusty's US Patent # 7571681

Zip-Zapped

Back in the nineties, Rusty Haughey got electrocuted when his ladder hit the main 7,000-volt power line that supplied his neighborhood.

That jolt caused Rusty to experience short-term memory problems that make him unfit for employment. But he says, "I do have a visual memory, so I can see whatever I think about in my own mind. I see things down to the smallest detail and in motion."

In earlier times, Rusty was a Phase Inspector in the Air Force. He was responsible for inspecting airplanes from nose to tail, including engines and the whole airframe in readiness for take-off.

At the time of the accident, Rusty was fortunate to have a neighbor who had retired the day before as a Registered Nurse. She saw what happened and immediately rushed to the rescue. She kept his heart pumping for 15 minutes until the ambulance arrived.

Rusty goes on to say, "They kept me alive in the ambulance and in the hospital, but I was in a coma for 36 hours. The doctors told my family that I would never wake up. Well, they were wrong!"

His mother, Miriam Haughey, helped him afterward, since he was and still is single. She shares with him her attorney – Charla Burchett – for guardianship. Charla has helped Rusty out on legal matters ever since he had the accident.

Living In The Present

Short-term memory is often referred to as the ability to recall five to nine items after being recently exposed to them. A good example is a telephone number or a short list of groceries.

But Rusty sees it all so philosophically.

"Having short-term memory issues has its ups and downs. It can be a blessing or a curse. A blessing because you can concentrate on just that one thing that is important to you and not be distracted by everything else," says Rusty. "A short term memory is also a curse because you forget about time. Time has no meaning," he adds.

Rusty finds the concept of time non-existent. That's why he feels as if he has all the time in the world, yet in spite of this time dilemma, he has always prided himself on never being late!

Dr. Ann Gibbens, Rusty's speech therapist, told him that his memory will never totally come back and there will come a time that his memory will plateau.

Living Without Memory

Rusty accepted this fact as he stays positive with his outlook in life, hence, the invention he created after his handicap. Instead of being engrossed about the accident he had, he made something out of his existing vivid visual memory.

He also helped others who are handicapped like himself. The good thing was he retained his visual memory that allowed him to draw his patented apparatus and method of railroad tie replacement.

Now all he needs is an angel investor to get his invention up and running.

Being self-aware, Rusty knows his personal strengths and weaknesses. That's why he was not reluctant to get a business planner who will write for him.

He looks forward to making his invention a reality by staying in the background, in his own words, "like Oz, in the Wizard of Oz, behind the curtain."

It seems as if Rusty has not dwelt so much on the effect of the electrocution on him. His light personality has given him the power to rise above his disability. He says, "Just try being you at all times… Keep it simple stupid… You just can't worry about them all." Some people will have opinions and prejudices on what one can or can't do so he advises just be yourself and don't fret.

Easy Railroad Maintenance

Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla, able to visualize complex machinery and moving parts in the minutest detail, as Rusty says he can do, too.

Rusty admits to being "no good at writing" but he claims to be able to see machinery in the smallest detail in his mind. This is a trait that the great inventor Nikola Tesla had.

It was this visualization ability that allowed Rusty to imagine the workings of the complex machinery he invented.

Ties are the rectangular support underneath railroad tracks. They come in a variety of materials like concrete, stone, steel, wood, plastic, rubber composite, or fiberglass.

Rusty started working on his railroad ties replacement invention back in 1994 (13 years in the making), filed for a patent in 2007, and got it approved in 2009.

Rusty says that the railroad system is a cheap way of traveling and transporting goods. His invention will be a faster, more efficient way of changing the ties of a railroad.

Ever since 2009, Rusty has been waiting for his invention to become a reality.

Here is how the system works (see the accompanying Figure 7 from his U.S. patent file):

Railroad tie replacement process
  • The system simultaneously removes old rectangular supports and replace with new ones.
  • It uses three railroad cars.
  • The 1st car places the new tie beside the old tie.
  • The 2nd car picks up the old tie.
  • The 3rd car in between the 1st and 2nd car, pushes the old tie and places the new tie using hydraulics (water pressure system used for lifting).

Rusty in his own words shares his idea about the profit potential of his Railroad Ties Replacement System.

"My idea all came about after I heard about the Primix Corp and their new railroad tie. I thought that if I could just make one dollar from each railroad tie it would really add up to enough money that I could use to help the handicapped. The Primix Corp had millions of ties on order that were just samples going to 40 different countries."

Primix made the first engineered hybrid crosstie made up of, from the inside out – concrete, steel, and composite casing (rubber, plastic, and inert materials).

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

Rusty, a happy-go-lucky guy, ends by saying, "Don't sweat the small stuff." It simply shows that he won't let trivial matters get in his way. He thinks about them for sure, but not in a way that hinders his progress. If it's not that important, he just lets it pass.

He optimistically goes on saying, "Tomorrow is a new day. Let's just get through this one so that we don't have to worry about it tomorrow and we can all move forward and try to create something." He definitely did create something.

And he's creating much more... like a system to return a tipped catamaran sailboat to the upright position, a shark repellent life ring, a method of resolving erosion problems in railroad foundations, just to name a few. He says, "I don't get out of the house much or away from my laptop. I am always researching something."