I was taking my youngest son, Harry (aged 10) to school in July 2018. It was like any other day. I was driving along the A2070 to Hamstreet in Kent, a road which is renowned for accidents, when a car veered into me. I didn’t have time to react.
My car spun 180 degrees and went into a ditch. I don’t remember feeling panicked – in fact I was very calm. I even managed to give my husband’s telephone number to a witness at the scene whilst other witnesses helped Harry out of the car. Harry is very resilient and took all of this in his stride.
I was very lucky. One of the drivers in the queue of cars which built up behind me was an off-duty paramedic. When someone called 999, he conveyed information from the scene of the accident and reported that I’d need the assistance and expertise of the Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS). The ambulance, fire brigade, police and KSS all arrived quickly – as did my husband. I was conscious throughout and it took about two hours for the fire brigade to cut me out of the car. Although I couldn’t move, I felt reassured – I knew that I was surrounded by a team of people with the right skills to help me.
The doctor from KSS oversaw everything. He advised the team at the scene and liaised with King’s College Hospital, where there is a major trauma unit, about the assessments that I would need as soon as I arrived. No one was sure if I had internal bleeding or how severe my injuries were so they were extremely cautious when moving me. The KSS paramedic gave me sedation so they could treat my injuries and manage my pain and I was flown to King’s College Hospital where a fully briefed team was waiting for me. After being thoroughly scanned, I received the good news that there wasn’t any internal bleeding.
However, I had 23 complex fractures including five in my spine.
I stayed in hospital for eight weeks and had surgery on my right leg and foot, left knee, left arm and right elbow. Harry was initially taken by ambulance to William Harvey Hospital in Ashford as his injuries weren’t so severe but he was then transferred to King’s College Hospital as he had a lacerated spleen. Luckily, his spleen stopped bleeding without needing any intervention. He had a fractured collar bone too but fortunately he recovered quickly. By the end of the summer 2019 he was able to return to all his usual sporting activities and he went on to pass his Eleven-plus exam in September 2019 which we were very proud of.
When I finally came home, I was still unable to walk and required extensive rehabilitation and physiotherapy to regain my mobility. I have had a lot of surgery over the last year because of ongoing complications and to take the metal plates out of my foot and arm. By the beginning of March 2021 I had three metal plates and 31 screws and pins removed. I still don’t have full use of my left hand but I am generally fit and healthy and know that I’m lucky to be alive.