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Doctors: Woman Hit By Fallen Tree Limb In San Francisco Park Won't Walk Again

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – One week after a large tree branch fell onto a woman in a San Francisco park, doctors told her husband that she will never walk again.

Cui Ying Zhou was at Washington Square Park with her two daughters last Friday when a tree branch snapped and landed on her head. The limb weighed 100 pounds and fell from a pine tree.

Cui Ying Zhou Paralyzed by Falling Tree Branch in Washington Square Park
Cui Ying Zhou. (Family Photo)

Her husband Jian Cong Tan told KPIX 5 that the branch fractured his wife's skull and broke her lower spine.

Doctors said Zhoo will definitely be paralyzed, even if they can reconnect her spinal cord.

"Her lower spine was broken. The doctor showed me the x-ray and said, "Her lower spine separated into two parts, her skull was broken too,'" Tan said.

Tan said their daughters, who are only five and nine years old, are too distraught to go back to school.

He has taken a leave from work to watch after their two girls who saw the horrific accident happen.

Despite the seriousness of her injuries, Zhou is showing some sign of improvement.

"It's amazing that she's still breathing and can talk to me right now. It's very amazing. It's like a miracle."

Tan said he hasn't slept all week and is just trying to stay as strong as he can for the girls.

"They need help as well, because they saw what happened and probably hide everything inside for themselves. They probably don't want to talk about it," said Tan.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee released a statement the day after the accident.

It said his "thoughts are with the family...and we are praying for the recovery of this young woman."

Those thoughts are little consolation to a family that has been shattered.

"I don't know what to say. It's so, so terrible and this is the worst day of my life right now," said Tan. "I feel really terrible."

Arborists have been out in San Francisco parks all week doing visual assessments. They say that these canary pines are all in good condition and are calling the incident a freak and tragic accident.

Zhou is expected to be out of the ICU in a couple of days.


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