Traffic stop for suspected drunk driving leads to lifesaving brain surgery for woman


(MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C.) — What police officers thought was a routine traffic stop turned out to be a blessing in disguise for 58-year-old Tamara Palmer.

On Dec. 2, 2022, police officers were called to a highway in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, with reports of a potential drunk driver.

It was on the highway that the two responding officers from the Mount Pleasant Police Department reported they observed Palmer erratically hitting the curb and veering in and out of lanes multiple times.

After pulling her over, officers questioned Palmer, but after determining that she had no drugs or alcohol in her system they feared something else might be wrong.

“I told them I [had] a bad headache and I lost my vision for a few seconds,” Palmer told “Good Morning America.” “And then [they realized] something really medically was not right with me.”

Tamara Palmer says police officers who stopped her while driving helped to save her life.
The two responding officers requested an ambulance for Palmer after deciding she was “possibly having a medical episode,” the police department wrote in a Facebook post.

Once at the hospital, Palmer said an MRI detected a tumor in her brain. She said doctors told her it was possible the tumor had been growing in her head for 35 years.

Due to the size and location of the tumor, doctors rushed Palmer into surgery less than 48 hours after she was pulled over.

“[It was a] very successful surgery,” Palmer said, noting she was discharged from the hospital two days later. “I didn’t have any complications. I feel like I didn’t have any surgery at all.”

Now recovered, Palmer said she has returned to work as an assistant teacher.

She also followed up with the police department, letting them know last month that the two police officers who pulled her over saved her life, the department shared on Facebook.

Palmer said she is grateful to have been given a second chance at life, thanks to the quick thinking of the police officers who pulled her over that December day.

“I just wake up every morning and say, ‘Thank you.’ I opened my eyes and I’m alive. I go to work. I enjoy my kids. I enjoy my work. I just enjoy any breath I take,” Palmer told “GMA.” “Dec. 2, it’s my second birthday because [of these] police officers. They [gave] me the best birthday gift I could ask for — life.”

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.