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GH's Chauntal Lewis opens up over traumatic car crash where she lost her hand

Yasmine Leung August 4, 2022
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General Hospital’s Chauntal Lewis spoke candidly with Maurice Benard’s about the traumatic car crash that caused the loss of her left hand. An inspiration to many, she was back on stage just three weeks after the accident.

During her seven-year career on General Hospital, Chauntal Lewis has portrayed three different nurses, starting with Nurse Stephanie in 2015. For three years until 2019, the 37-year-old returned as Tara and made her third comeback as Chanel in 2020.

Years before her soap breakthrough however, Lewis lost her hand in a traumatic accident. But her latest conversation with Maurice Benard proves her determination to prevent it from hindering her life.

Photo by David A. Walega/WireImage

“It’s a total out-of-body experience”

In March 2009, the then-budding actress left a friend’s house in Los Angeles. Whilst driving home, she approached a semi-truck parked in the middle of the road. During her attempt to drive around the vehicle, a yellow taxi appeared opposite. But the force of the impact “threw her into the back of the semi-truck”.

Holding back her tears, she said: “I lost my hand on impact. It literally cut off the left side of my driver’s seat.”

Lewis’ immediate reaction was to beg for her mother because it was a “total out-of-body experience.” She was transported to the nearby UCLA hospital. Although, they weren’t immediately aware that Chauntel Lewis’ left hand was in the backseat of the car after the crash.

Committed to develop her acting career, Lewis remained composed even when doctors informed that they weren’t able to re-attach her hand. “That doesn’t matter, just make sure that I wake up because I’m not done here,” the soap star told surgeons.

Her partner of 10-years was her support system

Lewis entered a period of “euphoria” after meeting her longtime partner just three months after the freak accident. “I’ve never fallen in love like this yet I’m going through the most traumatic thing of my life,” she recalled.

Although the relationship helped with Lewis’ insecurity, it continued to subconsciously affect her, particularly due to the nature of her work.

Unfortunately, the actress suffered from depression just before the pandemic after her partner unexpectedly left, though it wasn’t simply the break-up that hit hard. Since Lewis had a companion immediately after the crash, she never dealt with the loss alone.

“They took me away on a 51/50,” she revealed. The term refers to the California law code that allows professionals to take a person, deemed a danger to themselves or others due to a mental health disorder, into custody for up to 72 hours for assessment.

Lewis’ new-found love for yoga has been her source of comfort ever since. She is a self-proclaimed yogi, as written in her social media profile.

If you are affected by any issues raised in the article or would like someone to speak to, please call the Samaritans for free on 116 123. You can also email them at [email protected] or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch in the UK. In the US, please visit Samaritans USA for more information.

You can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text 741741 to get in touch with the Crisis Text Line. Americans can now call or text 988 to reach out and speak to a counsellor.

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Yasmine is a third-year Anthropology and Media student at Goldsmiths University with a new obsession with League of Legends, despite being really bad. She's always on social media keeping on top of the latest news and trends and is HITC’s expert in Korean pop culture. She also loves music, TV and fashion - her favourite things to write about.