Long recovery continues for woman injured at L.A. airport

An 82-year-old Medford woman who was severely injured after falling from a stairway at Los Angeles International Airport is now at a local hospital recovering from head injuries.

Martha Jane Germer, who had been treated at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, returned to Jackson County over the Christmas holiday.

"She's back in the valley and is going through acute rehabilitation," said Randy Jones, general manager of Veranda Park Retirement Living, where Germer lives. "Down the road, we are optimistic she will be back home here at Veranda."

On Nov. 22, Germer had climbed to the top of stairs leading into a jet bridge at LAX when she fell because a guardrail wasn't securely fastened, according to eyewitnesses.

Germer was on her way to a cruise in the Hawaiian Islands and had taken a Horizon flight from Medford to Los Angeles.

Jones said family members have indicated they don't want to discuss their mother's rehabilitation.

Once Germer recovers enough, Jones said Veranda Park will have some kind of celebration when she returns to her home and her cat, Tasha.

In the meantime, she will be undergoing extensive therapy locally, he said.

"We are still optimistic, and she's got a lot of work ahead of her," he said.

Dennis Ingalls, a 64-year-old Grants Pass resident who saw Germer fall, welcomed news of her return and recovery.

"It took a miracle to bring about this opportunity," he said. "I couldn't have thought of a better Christmas present for her and her boys."

Ingalls, who feared the worst after seeing Germer's fall, said he credits her recovery to the neurosurgeon who came to her aid and to others who rushed to help the woman lying on the tarmac.

And Germer was taken to UCLA, considered one of the best hospitals in the country, Ingalls said.

A spokeswoman for Horizon and Alaska Airlines said the company acknowledged an accident occurred, but wouldn't provide any additional information, citing privacy rules.

According to Ingalls, Germer walked down the stairs from a Bombardier Q400 turboprop plane and made her way across the tarmac to another set of stairs that led up to a jet bridge connected to the terminal. At the top of the stairs, Germer somehow lost her balance and fell to the ground, Ingalls said.

Ingalls said a guard rail at the top of the stairs was not in place, leaving an open area for Germer to fall through.

After the accident, Ingalls said the memory of that day haunted him, particularly because he didn't know who the woman was or her condition.

Since then, he has spoken to family members.

"It has helped me to deal with the situation immensely," he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email dmann@mailtribune.com.

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