She would relive the next ten seconds many times in the coming months. As she lifted her right leg to climb over the fence, her left foot skidded slightly in the damp earth. The gun slipped from under her arm, its trigger catching on a fold of her hunting coat. The sound of the shotgun discharging startled flocks of birds from the nearby trees. But no one in the hunting party noticed the feathered flurry. They were fixed in horror on Virginia's shredded left foot, her blood staining the tawny field grass beneath where she lay.
...Because of the gun's proximity to her body, the shotgun pellets destroyed Virginia's foot, causing extensive soft tissue and bone damage. In addition, the wound had been highly contaminated by environmental material--fragments from her boot, the grass upon which she fell, the clothing her friends had used to cover her. By the time the very shaken group arrived at the hospital in Smyrna, more than an hour had passed from the time of the accident, and infection had already begun to set in.
Although the utmost was done to treat Virginia's wound, there was no way to adequately manage the infection. Evidence of gangrene appeared and Dr. Lorrin Shepard, head of the Istanbul American Hospital, was rushed to Smyrna. He determined that a B.K. amputation, the removal of her left leg from below the knee, was the only course of action possible to save Virginia's life.
Even before word of the accident had reached her mother in Baltimore, Virginia Hall was being taken into the hospital's surgiacal ward, where her life would be changed forever.
Excerpted from "Wolves at the Door: The True Story Of America's Greatest Female Spy" by Judith Pearson. Copyright © 2008 by Judith Pearson. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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