On Nov. 29, 2003 at approx. 3:15 am Deputy Cliff Hembree was seriously injured while assisting a Tuscaloosa City Officer on a DUI traffic stop. Cliff was struck by a car traveling approx. 35 MPH and suffered a severe brain injury along with several broken bones. He was taken to DCH here in Tuscaloosa and was transferred to the Trauma Surgical Intensive Care Unit(TSICU) listed as critical. At 1 PM on the 29th Cliff was rushed into emergency surgery after a bleed was found on his brain and had clotted, the surgery was to remove the blood clot on his brain. The pressure on his brain continued to increase eachday, therefore he was put into a medical induced coma for several days. Within a few weeks Cliff began to open one eye, move his legs and arms and is started to follow commands given by his family and his nurses. On Christmas morning of 2003 at 4:30 AM, Cliff awoke and was coherent enough to communicate with his wife, Lisa for the first time since his injuries. On Dec. 29, 2003, exactly one month following his injuries Cliff was transported by ambulance with a police escort to Shepherd Rehabilitation Center in Atlanta, GA. He was in the Acquired Brain Injury Unit at Shepherd. On Feb. 4, 2004 Cliff was discharged from Shepherd to begin is outpatient therapy at Pathways in Decatur, GA. On Feb 26, 2004 Cliff returned home to Tuscaloosa after almost 3 months.
In the summer of 2004, Cliff completed training at Pilot Dogs, Inc in Columbus, Ohio. On Lisa and Cliff's 4th wedding anniversary Sheriff Sexton flew Cliff home with a new member of their family, Sampson. In June of 2005, 18 months after being told Cliff would not survive his injuries he began training at the Center for Visually Impaired in Atlanta.
On January 6, 2010 Lisa and Cliff welcomed their new son Pate Anderson. He is named after Cliff's ICU nurse Ren Pate. Pictures of Pate are posted below and on the picture link. You can also click on the following link to read how Pate was introduced to his big brother Sampson http://sites.google.com/site/pilotdogs/students-news
Click on the "daily progress reports" link on the top left side of the screen to read Cliff's detailed progress.