The story behind a woman’s ‘hands-free’ lifesaving call

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COLLETON COUNTY S.C. (WCBD) – Finally speaking out, the woman who crushed her hands while changing her tire on I-95 earlier this month.

The wheel, well, my hands were from the knuckle down on both. My thumbs were free. So these from here down were completely smashed.

Kathy McDaniel

Kathy McDaniel, explaining her tragic accident the night her hands were smashed up against the inside of her wheel well. Describing the night she spent along on 1-95 near Colleton after hitting a pot hole.

McDaniel says she pulled over around sunset to find her right front tire blown out. Knowing it was starting to get dark, she called nearby Sheriff’s departments and police stations to see if an officer was available to assist with lighting as she changed her tire. However the nearest officer was 1 to 2 hours away.

Thinking she could change it and be back on the road by then, she proceeded to take apart her vehicle on the side of the road.

I kind of lost grip of it and it slipped and I moved my hands up to the top. And it all happened so fast that as soon as I moved my hands to the top, the jack slipped. The car fender down by the door broke and everything just fell on my hands. So at that point I’m sitting on the ground with my hands slammed between the wheel well and the tire.

Kathy McDaniel

McDaniel went on to say it took her 35 minutes to process what was happening before she sprung into action—making a lifesaving call. 

I just couldn’t do anything until finally I thought okay, uhm I’m going to get that phone and get my shoe off…

But I got up on my knees, I’m not gonna be able to…and then that’s when I got the phone and then just picked up my foot and did this. With my hands like this, and dialed.

Kathy McDaniel

Once help arrived, Chief McCroy with Colleton Fire Rescue told News 2 that it was easy to get her hands free from the car.  

The whole thing, after we arrived, only took about five minutes, the ambulance arrived at the same time, the firefighters/paramedics got out and treated her for her injuries, and they gave her some pain medication, and then our agency transported her to trident hospital.

Chief McCroy, Colleton Fire Rescue

As the ambulance was headed to Trident Health, Medical Personnel, like Dr. Kenneth Perry readied themselves for the worst. 

At first the trauma surgeon and I looked at each other make sure we were in the right room. It was, this was a definitely a different story than what we’re actually seeing in the sense that we expected so much worse.

Dr. Kenneth Perry, Trident Medical

According to her X-rays, McDaniel miraculously suffered no breaks in her fingers or major trauma.  

You know there’s either cuts down the bone, and I’ve had missing fingers, certainly many horrible injuries that are life of limb changing. Certainly a life changing event, her’s were just somewhere amazing. She was able to be so lucky and really not have anything in the end wrong.

Dr. Kenneth Perry, Trident Medical

A Trident Nurse takes her call to help, one step further:

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