CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -
Congressional candidate Katie Arrington has been released from MUSC two weeks after a serious car accident that seriously injured her and one other and killed a third person.
Speaking publicly for the first time since the June 22 crash, she said she had no words other than, "Thank you, God."
One of her doctors at MUSC said her recovery is not complete.
"There is no easy path through this. Externally she looks great, but internally she's still healing," Dr. Avery Buchholz said.
Her recovery, he said, will require that she takes it easy and rest for about a month.
"I'm going to take doctors' orders very seriously," Arrington said.
Arrington said she was in a great deal of pain but said she was ready to go home. She also asked for continued prayers for her friend, Jackie Goff, the driver of the vehicle Arrington was riding in when the crash happened. She said Goff was in considerable pain and would likely remain hospitalized for a while.
She also asked for prayers for the family of 69-year-old Helen White, who was killed in the crash.
"To the family of Miss White: My deepest and most profound condolences," she said. "I remember everything. I did not lose consciousness for a second. And I just want you to know that your mom, your daughter, your sister will forever be etched in my memory and my family's."
She thanked Buchholz, who she called "Dr. Dreamy," and the other doctors and staffers at MUSC.
"This truly is a gem. MUSC truly is a gem, not only in South Carolina, but in the southeast," she said.
She said she always believed God always has a mission and a plan and said there was a mission God had for her when he "embraced her" on the night of the crash.
"If any of you do not believe in God, please look at this woman sitting before you," she said. "There is no facial trauma, there is no neurological damage, and there is no reason why other than God."
Arrington said her left arm was dislocated and Goff's right arm was similiarly injured.
"Because when we braced for impact, we braced and held onto each other," she said.
She became emotional before looking at Goff's family, who was seated in the front row at the news conference.
"I owe Jackie Goff my life, and I don't for a moment discount that," she said. "God and Jackie were my saviors."
She also thanked her husband, who she said has not left her side since the accident.
"The ventilators were still in, I mouthed, 'I love you,' to my husband," she said. "So I started writing with my hand in the air to spell C-A-M," for campaign.
Arrington confirmed she has been released from the hospital and was going home immediately after the news conference.
"My first stop is to see my mom," Arrington said. Her mother is currently in hospice, she said, and has not been able to see her.
She said the campaign hasn't stopped for her, but said she would give herself time to recuperate before continuing the fight to win the election in November.
She said the experience has given her new insight about healthcare issues.
"I'm a strong proponent for healthcare. But I can tell you from being on this side of the bed and understanding the response of these people," she said, gesturing toward her doctor, "[I have] a whole new agenda. You know, we have one Level 1 trauma center in our region, MUSC. If I was two to three miles down the road, I may not have lived. Because I would have had to have gone to a different hospital before I would have gotten medevacked to MUSC."
She thanked everyone who had prayed for her, adding, "God is great."
Democratic candidate Joe Cunningham, Arrington's opponent for the seat currently held by Rep. Mark Sanford, released a statement shortly after Arrington left the dais:
Amanda and I are thrilled to hear that Katie is leaving the hospital and we continue to pray for a full recovery. In the weeks and months to come, voters will hear two very different visions for the Lowcountry and we look forward to a spirited debate on the issues.
Cunningham suspended his campaign for more than a week while Arrington recovered. Cunningham has since resumed his campaign as others, including Republican Sen. Tim Scott, promised to make campaign stops on Arrington's behalf.
The crash happened on June 22 as Arrington and Goff, were headed south along Highway 17 in Adams Run. Their vehicle was struck by a vehicle driving in the wrong direction in the same lane, Charleston County Sheriff's Capt. Roger Antonio said.
The other vehicle was driven by White, of Ravenel, who died in the crash, according to Charleston County Deputy Coroner Bobby Jo O'Neal. White had been involved in a hit-and-run with another car prior to hitting the car with Arrington inside.
The day after the crash, dozens gathered for a prayer service in her name.
Multiple leaders throughout the political arena wished Arrington well including President Donald Trump, Gov. Henry McMaster, as well as Sanford himself.
White's son has since said that he'll miss his mother and told deputies on scene that night that his mother didn't see well, according to the incident report.
Last week, her campaign released the first photo of her since the crash.
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