Woman survives internal decapitation during crash, Cincinnati doctors prevent paralysis

CINCINNATI - An Ohio woman is lucky to be alive after a car crash that caused internal decapitation.

Kimberly Flanigan was riding in a car with her cousin last fall when they slid on black ice. Paramedics got her to the hospital, where surgeons immediately looked at an image of her spine.

"And that showed that she had an internal decapitation injury, where there is a severe injury to the ligaments that hold your head on your spine," Dr. Ferhan Asghar said.

The surgeons at the University of Cincinnati stabilized her spine and prevented paralysis.

"When she came in, we were able to put her head back where it belongs in the operating room, and then fix everything back in place with screws and rods to keep everything from shifting again," Asghar said.

Flanigan also suffered a broken collarbone, arm and rib. But she was wearing her seatbelt.

"I am blessed. I thank him, I thank the Lord, and I don't have anything to not smile about. I am grateful, and I don't have nothing not to smile about but I'm grateful, I am happy. It couldn't get any better than this," Flanigan said.

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