A 13-year-old boy saved his 10-year-old sister from bleeding to death by ripping off his shirt and using it as a tourniquet after the family was battered in a horrific car accident.
Illinois mom Brandi Bass said she was driving a friend’s car several weeks ago when the vehicle veered off the road, hit a tree and flipped over. Her daughter, Kira, was thrown through the back window, where broken glass shredded her leg.
“Her leg got cut from the ankle to her knee,” Bass told InsideEdition.com Wednesday. “It was cut all the way to the bone.”
Bass, who has MS and other health issues, is not sure how she ended up wrecking the car. She, Kira, her son Caleb, and the vehicle’s owner were driving back from a recent visit with her eldest daughter in Texas when the crash occurred.
After the car flipped and landed upright, facing the wrong direction on the side of a highway, Brandi said she hadn’t realized Kira had been ejected.
The child later told her mother she had forgotten to fasten her seat belt.
Suddenly, Brandi heard Kira screaming. “That’s when we knew she wasn’t in the car,” the mom said. Brandi was stunned. But 13-year-old Caleb, who dreams of joining the Army and loves all survival-related things, forced his car door open and ran to his sister, who was about a foot away.
“She was screaming, ‘My knee’s broken! My knee’s broken!’ But it wasn’t broken, her leg was cut,” Brandi said.
Caleb tore off his shirt, twisted it into tourniquet and tied off his sister’s leg. He had seen it done once in a movie.
“I could not hand handle the sight of her leg,” Brandi said. But Caleb knew just what to do, she said.
At a nearby hospital, medical staff said they were not equipped to deal with such a serious injury, so Kira was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Ark., Brandi said.
Her child had lost a lot of blood. “They told me if wasn’t for (Caleb), she would have bled out,” the mother said.
Caleb, however, has a hard time understanding what all the fuss is about.
“He keeps telling everybody, ‘I am not a hero.’ And I keep telling him, ‘Yes you are, baby doll. You saved your sister’s life. People are just telling you that you did that.’’’
Kira’s leg is healing, though it remains severely bruised and “it’s got a wicked-looking scar,” her mother said. She will need physical therapy, and the scar tissue on her leg will have to be monitored, but she is expected make a full recovery, Brandi said.
The mother deals with incredible guilt because she was behind the wheel.
Kira has a hard time being patient with what will be a lengthy road to recovery.
“I tell her, ‘It sucks that it happened. But we have to fight. It hurts. But you’re alive.’ She just doesn’t seem to get that this is the most important thing. She’s alive.’’
Her mother gets it. “We are very, very lucky. Caleb got some bruises and scratches. I was sore, but I was not hurt.” Her friend was not hurt either.
“We’re fine,” Brandi added.