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Woman has more surgery

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MONTREAL—A young Quebec woman whose arms and legs were amputated following a car crash on Christmas Day underwent further surgery this week to remove more of her right leg, her sister said today.

Samantha Mongeon said it was her sibling Sabryna's sixth amputation and ninth surgery since she was electrocuted following the December car crash.

Sabryna's condition was listed as stable today and she was in a coma, Samantha said in an interview.

“The doctors are going to give her a little break, [remove the tube that has been allowing her to breathe], and let her be a little more normal,” said Mongeon, 21.

She said it's unclear when Sabryna, 18, will wake up but she hopes it will be in the next few days.

The younger Mongeon lost control of her vehicle on Christmas morning and collided with a hydroelectric pole in western Quebec.

Her sister says electrical wires fell on the car and Mongeon was shocked by a charge of 14,500 volts when she exited the vehicle.

She initially was treated at a hospital in Gatineau, Que. before being transferred to the burns unit of a Montreal hospital.

She had parts of her arms and legs amputated soon after the crash, but has since required additional surgeries to remove a greater portion of her limbs.

An online fundraising campaign had raised more than $146,000 as of noon today.

Mongeon said the family is overwhelmed by the public's “unimaginable” generosity following the tragedy.

They're tired and in shock from the repeated amputations but staying strong, she said.

The donations will help fund her sister's recovery, including paying for modifications to her living space to give her as much independence as possible.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Hydro-Quebec said the utility is raising awareness about the dangers of electrocution in the wake of what he calls a “sad and regrettable” accident.

Jonathan Cote said the best advice for anyone who crashes into a hydroelectric pole is to stay in the vehicle and wait for help.

“It's the safest place because you're isolated from the ground by the vehicle's tires,” he noted in a phone interview.

If there is no choice but to exit the vehicle, Cote suggests that people jump as far from the car as possible with both feet together and to absolutely avoid touching the car and the ground at the same time.

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