MONTREAL — A young Quebec woman has had to have her arms and legs amputated after she spent four hours in freezing temperatures following an electric jolt that raced through her body.
Samantha Mongeon says her younger sister Sabryna, 18, was driving a car early on Christmas morning when she lost control of the vehicle and collided with a hydroelectric pole in western Quebec.
"The pole did not fall down but wires came down and fell on her vehicle," Mongeon told The Canadian Press on Wednesday.
"She was afraid it would catch fire so she left the vehicle (and) it was at that moment that she received an electrical charge of 14,500 volts."
Mongeon said the jolt entered through her sister's hands, coursed through her body and exited her two feet, adding "she immediately lost her left foot."
She remained conscious for four hours and painfully tried to get back into her car but wasn't able to start it to get some heat, her sister said.
Mongeon said a "Good Samaritan saw the vehicle, called 911 and stayed with her and warmed her in his arms" until help arrived.
Police have the man's name, but he didn't want it published in the media.
Mongeon said when Sabryna left their mother's home in Luskville in western Quebec to return home she took the backroads to return to Gatineau because the main roads were in bad shape.
Sabryna was first taken to a hospital in Gatineau for treatment.
"The hospital asked us to prepare to make a decision that might have to be taken in case she didn't come out of a coma," Mongeon said.
But she emerged from the coma and on Dec. 27 decided to have her arms and legs amputated.
The amputations took place when she was transferred to the burns unit of a Montreal hospital.
Fundraiser has already raised tens of thousands
The older Mongeon, 21, said she started a fundraiser on the "Onedollargift" website so their mother can spend as much time as possible at her daughter's side.
She added the hospital foundation, which helps burn victims, only allows five days of lodgings for the families of patients. They stay in a residence next to the downtown hospital.
Mongeon said originally she wanted to collect $10,000 so her mother could stay there, then raised the target to $50,000 "for my little sister so she can get all the necessary care."
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But later Wednesday, Mongeon increased the fundraising goal to $100,000 which had raised more than $42,000 by late evening.
Mongeon expressed her thanks to those who had made donations, saying it's something she would never have imagined.
Samantha Mongeon, who is the mother of a four-month-old boy, added it has been a difficult period for her to live through.
But her sister's courage "gives us the strength to stay close to her and encourage her 100 per cent," she added.
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