Memphis girl making miraculous recovery six months strike - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis girl making miraculous recovery six months after lightning strike

By Lori Brown - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) – A student struck by lightning last year on the first day of school is making progress on the long road to recovery.

Tierney Bourage, 17, was walking home after the first day of school at Southwind High when an electrical current – a bolt of lightning – entered through her side.  The current burnt her bra, and exited through both of her feet, knocking her unconscious and stopping her heart.

According to Tierney's mother, Barbara Turner, her daughter wasn't blinking as rain fell on her face as she laid on the sidewalk near her school.  Turner quickly began to pray.

"(I asked) God for her life back," she said. "'Cause she was lifeless."

Dr. Kanwaljeet "Sunny" Anand said Tierney's heart likely stopped beating for 20 to 30 minutes.

"Within two to three minutes, if our heart is not revived, there is extensive brain damage, and death occurs within five minutes," Anand said.

Doctors had doubts that the girl would ever recover.

"I wasn't sure she would ever talk or walk," Anand said.

But Tierney battled back, first at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, and later at a second hospital in Atlanta.  It was there where she woke up for the first time.

"They were rolling me down the hallway, and I was looking up at the ceiling and I could see the lights passing by me," Tierney said.

"It was really frustrating," she added. "I was trying to talk to my mom, and she couldn't understand what I was trying to say."

Soon came painful rehab sessions.  But now, nearly six months after the lightning strike that nearly took her life, Tierney is on her way to recovery.

"I'm doing wonderful," she said. "I'm just so thankful I'm back here with my family and friends."

But Tierney still has a long road ahead. Her vision is blurry due to her brain injury, and she also has issues with short-term memory. For instance, on the day she was interviewed for this story, she couldn't remember what she had for breakfast.  Doctors say it takes a year to two years for the brain to heal.

Before the lightning strike, Tierney was enrolled in accelerated classes at Southwind High School, and was only two credits shy of graduation.  Her family says the school plans for her to talk with her class this spring.

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