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July 16, 2013

Good Samaritan recovering after fall through glass door

CULLMAN — A Cullman woman who was critically injured after falling through a glass door while trying to help wreck victims Friday is recuperating at home.

Katrina Tankersley, 36, had to undergo emergency surgery at Cullman Regional Medical Center and received more than 100 stitches and staples to close a wound after a four-inch shard of glass went through her upper right arm. Her bicep and tricep were severed and an artery in her forearm sliced open during the fall at her business The Painted Bisquet on Third Street Northeast.

Tankersley said she was running back into the shop to call 911 after witnessing a three-vehicle wreck on U.S. 278 East when she tripped and fell through the glass door. Two drivers involved in the wreck, Susan Hooper, 43, of Cullman and Grindl Cook Weldon, 41, of Blountsville, were treated for minor injuries at CRMC and later released. The third driver, Rey Fernando Palacios-Sanchez, 38, of Cullman, was not injured, Cullman police said.

“I remember it being very chaotic and a lot of blood,” Tankersley said from her home Monday. “It was scary, but the first responders were great and everyone at the hospital, the nurses, surgeons, everyone was amazing.”

“There was a moment there I wasn’t sure I was going to survive because of all the blood I had lost.”

EMS director Jerry Sellers said his team stabilized the large piece of glass that was embedded in Tankersley’s arm and implemented a tourniquet and IVs while transporting her to the hospital.

Tankersley said it will be at least eight weeks before her wounds are healed enough to begin physical therapy. But doctors are optimistic because she has feeling in fingertips. Her left arm suffered several cuts as well. She said she will go back to the doctor in a few weeks to have the sutures removed.

While she’s operated The Painted Bisquet for the past year, for now, Tankersley’s focus is on recovering from the freak accident.   

“We haven’t made a decision on that yet,” she said of her running her shop. “I’m just trying to get better. I have a lot of pain right now, but I can’t thank everyone who helped me that day enough.”

Tiffeny Owens can be reached at towens@cullmantimes.com or 256-734-2131, ext. 135.

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