Patient Stories

Every experience of trauma is unique. Here, patients tell their own stories of the journey back.

Amy’s story

Read Amy’s Story

My life changed on the 26th April 2013 when the mini bus I was travelling in with 20 other members of a hen party crashed on the M62 near Castleford. This devastating accident changed the lives of so many, and left me in hospital for four weeks with severe trauma to the pelvic area.

Despite numerous operations to pin my pelvis, there were times when I thought I would never walk again, but with the help of intensive physiotherapy I’ve become mobile and independent once again.

I spent the next six months living with my parents and using a zimmer frame or wheelchair to get about, but now I’m back in my own home and getting on with life. Although the accident changed my life in more ways than one, I’m hopeful and looking forward to the future.

“I can’t wait to get back to work for a few hours each week – as soon as my body will allow it.”

I’ll be the first to admit there’s still a long way to go before I’m back to normal, but that’s what keeps spurring me on. I’m visiting the gym regularly to help with pain control and can’t wait for the day when I can finally take my little dog out for a walk again.

“I’m supporting Day One as the care I received during my stay was exceptional.”

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Robert’s story

Read Robert’s Story

After my accident in March 2009 I was in theatre for 8 hours before being transferred to ICU. 3 days later I was taken back into theatre and operated on for another 13 hours, under the care of Professor Giannoudis. He informed my wife of my injuries and gave me a 50/50 chance of survival.

“I was in hospital for more than 15 weeks, the staff on the trauma ward were wonderful.”

I eventually began physiotherapy in September 2009, and occupational therapists checked my home to see what help and equipment I needed to live a normal life. Unfortunately due to complications I had to stop physiotherapy and undergo further operations. My most recent operation was in August 2013.

My aim is to be 90%+ as good as I was before my accident. I’ve had in excess of 30 operations since March 2009. On my last visit to the orthopaedic clinic I was informed that my left tibia was infected yet again, and that there’s a strong possibility my lower left leg may have to be amputated.

“I am getting on with my life as best as I can and looking forward to the future. My wife has been wonderful and without her I don’t know how I would cope.”

How you can help

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Paras’s story

Read Paras’s Story

I was an extremely bright and conscientious student, studying Accounting Business Finance & Management at the University of York. After completing my second year I was on track for a First Class Honours degree and was in the process of applying for jobs in the corporate world, after studying a master’s degree.

My accident occurred on Saturday 23rd October 2010 whilst driving alone along the A64 returning from Leeds. The car went off the road and rose up into the air hitting a tree. The road traffic and air ambulance representatives found the vehicle completely wrapped around the tree.

After being airlifted to Leeds doctors classed me as unconscious with severe brain injuries, collapsed lungs and multiple fractures with an open wound on my right leg. I was kept in Intensive Care Unit where my family and friends were notified that it was unlikely I would pull through the next 24 hours.

Since the date of the accident, further injuries to the brain were discovered leading to a Craniotomy in August 2011, this was a further setback and felt like the rewind button had been pressed undoing all my progress up until that date. The operation left me epileptic and further affected my cognitive skills. I am also blind in one eye and have lost my sense of smell.

Later in 2011 I was diagnosed with Osteomyelitis in my right leg, leading to further surgery after I had already completed my physiotherapy. During my time in hospital my brain injuries were so severe that I was unaware of what was going on and spent 2 months in the ward immobile. Most of my time was occupied by doctors assessing injuries and my mother trying to feed me as much home cooked food as possible to get me back on my feet!

Personal milestones during my time in hospital focused on going back to university and being able to play football again with my friends. These two things are what I missed the most.

I think the impossible felt possible when I attempted to go back to university. Travelling daily from Walsall to York I would leave by myself at 6:30am and spend my day in lectures. It was extremely hard but I felt more independent and capable than I had before. I found the commute and content of my degree difficult to balance with my continuing rehab work but was adamant not to give in so easily. After three attempts I graduated as well as completed my first 10K run in July 2015.

Both family and friends have found it hard especially as my brain injury has meant certain personality traits have changed. As a family they are exhausted but not giving up and have been seeking endless help from professionals and peers.

Now I have started to work with a chartered accountant to gain experience and qualify me for the career that I have always wanted to do. I am so grateful to Professor Giannoudis and the trauma team at LGI as they have saved and enhanced my life. I want to make the most of my life as I am incredibly lucky to still be here. Day One is a fantastic initiative and as a national ambassador I relish the opportunity to be able to give everything possible back to help trauma patients with my experience.

My goal is still to become a management consultant and be able to play a full football match with my friends like I used to before the accident.

 

“My personal milestones in hospital focused on going back to university and being able to play football with my friends again. These are the two things I missed the most.”

How you can help

We can’t do what we do without your help. There are plenty of ways you can help, either by getting involved yourself, or simply by giving a donation.

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Steven’s story

Read Steven’s Story

Before my accident I was extremely active – I loved being out in the countryside mountain biking and walking my dog Jake.

Early one wet morning in November 2013 I was travelling to work along the M606 and about to join the M62. When I turned into the bend I felt my bike dip and swerve underneath me. There was nothing I could do, and I ended up colliding with the central reservation. I remember thinking ‘this is going to hurt!’ I was conscious pretty much throughout the accident itself, although don’t remember taking my helmet off!

I was rushed to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary where unfortunately they couldn’t cope with the severity of the injuries I had sustained. My right leg was broken above and below the knee, my pelvis was shattered and I had fractured my hip in 4 places. I was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary where they fought for just over two months to save my right leg. Unfortunately it had become infected, and I was told that to prevent the infection spreading further up my leg it would need to be amputated. I just felt numb.

My right leg was amputated above the knee in January 2014. When I came to from the operation I was really surprised I could move my leg.

“Sitting up properly for the first time was an amazing feeling, as I hadn’t been able to do this since my accident.”

Within 3 weeks of having my leg amputated I was able to go home, and I was in a wheelchair for 2 or 3 weeks afterwards until my scar had healed. I was then fitted with a generic prosthetic leg, and in May this year I had my first specific prosthetic leg fitted, which has given me hope for the future.

Whist my journey has been a traumatic one, I have accepted my life is different now and I am looking forward to the future. I hope to enrol on a design engineering course in the very near future and would love to be back riding my motorbike again.

“I am able to get about and walk short distances, and I’m really working on my fitness. I have an exercise bike at home that I think I am wearing out, due to all the cycling I’ve been doing to build up my leg muscles.”

How you can help

We can’t do what we do without your help. There are plenty of ways you can help, either by getting involved yourself, or simply by giving a donation.

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Jo’s story

Read Jo’s Story

In July 2008 I was driving with my partner and 2 friends up the winding French mountain roads for a mountain biking holiday. We never made it there.

The car was hit head on by an out of control van, and after nearly 4 hours trapped in the car I was flown to a local hospital and then onto the town of Grenoble. I eventually came out of an induced coma with my parents and sister by my side. I’d suffered open and closed fractures to the tibia and fibula of both legs, a broken pelvis, bleed to the liver, fractures to my left femur, elbow, humerus, jaw and eye socket. The surgeons explained to my parents that had I not been as fit as I was, I would not be here today.

When I was eventually well enough to leave France I was flown to Leeds Bradford airport with a team of paramedics who handed me over to the UK team. At Leeds General Infirmary I was lucky enough to be placed under the care of Professor Giannoudis and his trauma team. Over the years they’ve undertaken a number of bone graft procedures and removal of plates and screws to give my bones the best chance of fixing, and I’ve spent many, many months working with a team of physios learning to walk again.

There were many milestones on my journey. I remember my parents’ elation the first time I sat up in bed after being laid flat for 5 weeks. And the effort it took to get myself into the special wheelchair they provided using only one arm. It brought tears to the eyes of my partner and family when they came onto the ward and saw me.

Without the love and support of my partner and family, and the fantastic expertise, care and attention Professor Giannoudis and his team have given me over the last 6 years, I would not be back walking or back at work. Even though I’ve had to adapt how I do things, I’m also back riding my mountain bike, climbing, and other activities I never thought I’d be doing. My goal next year is to snowboard again! None of this would have been possible without Prof G and the Day One charity.

If somebody had told me that 6 years on I’d still be going through the healing process I’d have laughed at them in disbelief. It’s been one hell of a journey and a huge learning curve – it’s made me appreciate so many things and so many people.

No amount of time I can give to help the Day One charity can make up for the gratitude I have towards Prof G and his trauma team. During the last 6 years they’ve never given up on me.

“Day One has given me back my independence and lust for adventure again, and for that I thank them from the bottom of my heart.”

How you can help

We can’t do what we do without your help. There are plenty of ways you can help, either by getting involved yourself, or simply by giving a donation.

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Hayley’s story

Read Hayley’s Story

I’ve always lived a very active lifestyle. I loved horse riding, I had my own business, I had three young children, family pets and a husband to care for, so life was extremely hectic to say the least!

I’ve ridden horses for more than 20 years, and prior to my accident in November 2012 I was very excited about a new horse I’d found to join the family. It sounded like just what I was looking for, so arranged a visit to the farm to meet her and take her for a ride for the first time.

The horse was slightly excitable, but it didn’t feel like anything I couldn’t handle, so I mounted her. Unfortunately she reacted badly to this and started bucking violently, throwing me to the ground. I landed badly on my left side and hurt my pelvis badly.

I was initially taken to Harrogate Hospital for a week, where I learnt I’d fractured my pelvis in four places. The pain was horrific. The decision was then taken to transfer me to the Leeds General Infirmary for an operation, and it was there that they discovered my pelvis was completely shattered and would need to be plated.

After about four weeks I was allowed home from hospital, but was wheelchair bound for 3 months. I was determined not to use crutches, so began to move around using the furniture and soon regained my mobility.

Riding again was my next big step, and earlier this year I finally had the pelvic plates removed. Just a few months later I made it back into the saddle – it was such a nervous but fantastic experience.

“Although the last 18 months have been emotional and challenging, I’ve managed to achieve whatever I’ve set my mind to. The future’s looking really bright.”

How you can help

We can’t do what we do without your help. There are plenty of ways you can help, either by getting involved yourself, or simply by giving a donation.

Get involved Donate Now