Va. Beach student loses hand during Germany missions trip

HALLE, Germany (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach teenager is recovering in a foreign hospital after nearly being electrocuted in Germany.

Why my son?” asks mother Brande Hixon. “Why did this happen to him? I don’t know that and I will ever know why. One thing I know is Sam can handle it.”

Hixson has many unanswered questions after her son, 19-year-old Sam Murphy, lost his hand during a missionary trip in Germany.

Murphy graduated from Landstown High School last June, and while most kids were preparing for college, he took a year off from school to work with youth overseas. He was scheduled to come home last month, but tragedy didn’t let that happen.

Photos: Va. Beach teen loses hand in Germany

Sam Murphy (Photo courtesy Brande Hixson)
Sam Murphy (Photo courtesy Brande Hixson)

On June 18, Sam and some friends went cherry picking in Neufrankenroda when they came across an electrical transformer.

Sam wasn’t sure about it, but he was told it didn’t work,” Hixon said. “He went up there, because you can see the entire city.

Sam and a friend climbed to the top. It was the last view Sam would remember before waking up in a local hospital. 

“On his way down, he touched something and that was when he was electrocuted, Hixon said.

20,000 volts surged though his body and he fell 18 feet to the ground. Sam was flown to a burn hospital in Halle (Salle) near Leipzig. At first, his left thumb was amputated. Then doctors had to remove all the muscle in his left shoulder.

After seven surgeries on his hand, the decision was made that his hand would not be able to function,” Hixon said.  “It would just be a constant source of pain, so Sam had to make a decision to have his left hand amputated.

Though other parts of his body were injured as the electricity traveled through Sam’s body, all his major organs were unaffected.

Hixson is still in Germany with her son, who has now undergone 10 surgeries and awaits more. Through it all, she said he’s never lost his positivity. The walls of his hospital room are covered from top to bottom with “get well” cards.

I didn’t know the extent of the injuries when I got here, but one thing I did know was that I knew my son,” Hixon said. “I knew that while this may make things difficult, we are not afraid of hard work.

Sam has several months before he can come home and begin the rest his life. He had planned to attend Hampton-Sydney College in the fall, but will now shoot for the spring semester.

He did have a bright future,” Hixon added. “He still does have a bright future. This doesn’t change that.

Family members said doctors do plan to fit Sam with a prosthetic hand, but that will be very expensive. To help the family with the cost, a fund has been set up. You can make donations at any Navy Federal Credit Union. The account is called “Sam Murphy Recovery Fund,” and the account number is 3050442056. The NFCU routing number is 256074974.

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