Claire Wilson was involved in a serious road traffic incident which saw her sustain multiple injuries. Her memory of the incident is very limited, but with the help of others, she shares her story with us.

I had been back to work for about three months after having my first baby. All the details about my incident are what I have been told, as I remember very little. My last memory of the day, was putting the cupcakes I’d made for my team’s tea break on a colleague’s desk at around 10am. 

I was driving home at around 5pm on the A354 at Woodyates, it had been raining and there was a lot of standing water on the road. A pick-up truck hit a puddle; the driver lost control and aquaplaned towards me, hitting me head on. The momentum of the collision meant that my car was pushed backwards and ended up hitting a nearby tree.

First on scene were two people who were travelling in the car behind me. Apparently the driver of the other vehicle was asking about ‘a girl’ and the pair thought he might have been confused as there was no woman in his vehicle. It was then that they spotted steam coming from a nearby tree.

I was cut from my car by the Fire and Rescue Service and Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance arrived. I was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital; a move which I’ve been told either saved my life or at the very least made the recovery I’ve had possible.

Once in hospital, I was diagnosed with a punctured lung, fractured jaw, two fractured vertebrae, five fractured ribs, a fractured sternum, wrist, fibula, metatarsal and femur. I had dislocated fractures to both elbows and it was while I was in theatre having them relocated that I crashed and they discovered I was bleeding internally from a lacerated liver and spleen.

I was admitted to ICU where I spent eight days. I was heavily sedated and intubated and have no memory at all of the first four days.  All my injuries resulted in having both my elbows plated, an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter fitted and an intramedullary nail inserted in my femur. Following treatment, the next steps would focus on getting me back on my feet. With two broken arms this was not going to be easy and I had to master the use of a gutter zimmer frame and gutter crutches.

The physio team at Southampton Hospital were fabulous and kept pushing me; they dangled the carrot of getting home to my little boy which was a marvellous incentive. Before I was allowed to go home, I needed to be able to wash and dry myself, walk to the end of the corridor and master the stairs. My family were told that this could take around three months but thankfully with stubbornness and a lot of help, I was discharged four weeks to the day of my incident.

Thereafter, I was referred to the Wessex Rehabilitation Centre at Salisbury Hospital and what a brilliant place this is. I was with them for the next four months, undergoing physio and occupational therapy, but most of all, learning how to be me again! They helped me in so many ways, not least to get back to work part-time, less than six months after the accident. They also encouraged me to do a sponsored walk and made sure I knew my limitations and was ready for the challenge. In the December, I took part in the ‘Santa Stride’ with an aim of walking one mile but actually achieved over two and a half and I raised around £2,000 for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.

It’s now just over four years since the accident and I am pretty much back on my feet. There are a few more creeks and weaknesses than before, but I can still drive, I can walk (I’m still working on running) and I’ve had a second baby. I consider myself extremely lucky that I received such marvellous care from the word go; the First Responders, the Emergency Services, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, the care at Southampton General Hospital, the Wessex Rehabilitation Centre and of course my very supportive circle of family and friends. Without them, I know that things could have been so very different!

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