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Geneva Woman Returns Home After Arm Reattached

May 17, 1988

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) _ A woman whose left arm was reattached after it was severed by an airplane propeller last month returned home from the hospital Monday with doctors optimistic about her ecovery.

Dr. David Hurley, a plastic surgeon at the University of South Alabama Medical Center, said Tracie Ellenburg, 18, would require additional therapy, but he was optimistic for her recovery.

″She’ll see me again on Friday, just to make sure everything is healing well,″ the doctor said.

Miss Ellenburg, who went back to her home in Geneva in southeast Alabama, said she hoped to return to her job as a bookkeeper, but her June wedding plans with fiance Scott Jordan probably would be delayed until September.

″I can go and do things,″ Miss Ellenburg said during an interview in her hospital room. ″In my right hand, I can still write. I’m excited about going home. I just feel like the Lord’s going to give me feeling in it before long.″

Her parents, Harold and Nell Ellenburg, stood beside their youngest of four children. They said they received an outpouring of support from residents of Geneva and their church.

Miss Ellenburg said The Maple Avenue Baptist Church has declared June 5 ″Tracie Ellenburg Day.″

Miss Ellenburg was injured April 27, when she stepped into the propeller at a rural airport in Geneva, a community near Dothan.

″We have put a skin graft on to get some skin coverage. Everything looks great,″ Hurley said Monday.

But he said it would take 3-6 months to determine the extent of the arm’s function. ″The nerves regenerate very slowly. They grow about one millimeter a day. It just takes time.″

Two military helicopters were used in the rescue and evacuation of Miss Ellenburg from the small airport. She still remembers the accident and described her survival as a ″miracle.″

″I remember walking into the propeller. The next thing I remember was being on the ground, but I never passed out,″ she said. ″When I got to the emergency room I was talking.″

The twin-engine plane was operated by Miss Ellenburg’s brother-in-law, Ricky Hornsby and her fiance was a passenger.

Hornsby recovered the severed arm immediately after the accident.

Update hourly