Lauren Scruggs Tragedy: Propeller Accident Victim Takes First Steps

Propeller accident victim walks with the help of a physical therapist.

ByABC News
December 8, 2011, 4:10 AM

Dec. 8, 2011— -- Lauren Scruggs' recovery from losing her left hand and damaging her face after walking into the propeller of a small plane is progressing quickly, so much so that she's walking with the help of a physical therapist.

The model and fashion blogger walked down a hall on Wednesday at the Dallas hospital where she is being treated, according to her family. Halfway through her first walk since she was struck by the propeller Saturday night, Scruggs said the number 30. When her parents and twin sister asked what she meant, the 23-year-old said "steps." She had been counting the whole time.

Scruggs had just landed with a girlfriend after viewing Christmas lights from above in a small prop plane piloted by a family friend. Peter Wasserman and Luke Dixon are the two paramedics who responded to treat her after the accident that severed her hand and sliced the left side of her face and shoulder when she walked into the propeller.

"I could hear her as soon as I got out of the ambulance, so I was thinking maybe not that bad. ... I mean, hey, she's awake," Wasserman said. "Then we got over there and saw the extent of her injuries. It was one of those things that kind of just takes your breath away."

The veteran paramedics say they have never seen injuries like Scruggs'. They said that as they lifted her into the medical helicopter, they didn't have much hope.

"We knew her airway was OK, she was talking to us, answering our questions," Dixon said. "So it went to immediately to controlling her bleeding. That was our number one priority in trying to stabilize her."

Find out to how to help Lauren Scruggs.

Wasserman said that he began to pray for Scruggs as soon as he saw the extent of the damage the accident had caused.

"We honestly didn't expect her to survive," he said. "The extent of her injuries, the lacerations she had to the her head, the skull fracture. … We thought for sure there would be significant brain damage. I was praying as soon as I got there."

Wasserman is one of many who believe that prayers for Scruggs, whose parents, Cheryl and Jeff Scruggs, say that she is a deeply religious person, have been answered.

"We're praying she'll regain her sight," Jeff Scruggs said. "What she'd tell you is her relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing in her life. Even though she cannot talk I know, she's relying on Jesus right now."

Doctors treating Scruggs at Dallas' Parkland Hospital caution that the young woman is still at risk for infection, might still lose her left eye, and will almost certainly not have her model good looks again.

For her family, however, and the men who helped save her, that she's talking and now walking is nothing short of miraculous. Dixon said he is paying attention to Scruggs' recovery.

"A lot of times you don't find out what happens to your patients," he said. "In this instance, with such a significant injury, it's nice to know she's doing considerably better."