Since being involved in a serious road traffic incident, Kat Parsons has been receiving ongoing support from DSAA in order to help piece together the events of the day and work towards recovery...

I was travelling with my mum and sister on a spontaneous visit to my nan’s house in Honiton. For me, it was an early start after a midnight finish at work. This led to leaving my car at work and being collected in the morning before we set out on the journey. I had fallen asleep in the back of the car, early on in the journey. I woke to screams from my twin sister, then we crashed.

The next thing I remember is being laid on the floor, next to my sister (I have been informed it was members of the public who got us out of the car) and phoning work to tell them I would not be making my shift later that day.

Both Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and Devon Air Ambulance were tasked to the incident and I have very limited memory of what happened next, as I was going in and out of consciousness. I do, however, remember being argumentative with the crew about which hospital I was going to. They needed to take me to Southmead Hospital, which is a Major Trauma Centre, but I wanted to go to Salisbury. I also found out that I constantly kept asking about contacting work, but I had already done this twice. Apparently, my clothes were cut off on the side of the road, which I was upset about – it was a dignity thing for sure, but now I totally understand that this needed to be done to check the full extent of my injuries.

At the time, the most serious injury showing was to my bowel. Apparently, I could not lay my legs flat to the ground.

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance airlifted me to hospital and Devon Air Ambulance airlifted my sister. Sadly, I lost my mum, she died at the scene.

At hospital, I was diagnosed with a perforated bowel and underwent an operation to fix it. I also had a cervical fracture in my neck, which was so close to my spinal cord that they couldn’t operate. I had to be put in a confining hard collar, so my neck wouldn’t move, while it healed. I also suffered severe seatbelt injuries and broke several ribs.

Due to not having many memories of the accident, I felt I needed to meet the team and wanted to thank them for everything they did for me. I also wanted to piece together some of the aspects of the day. Although the experience was emotional, it was so worthwhile. I have subsequently received so much fantastic support, which I would not have had access to.

Since the incident, I have had a dislocation of the shoulder and collar bone and my rehabilitation is ongoing. I am in regular contact with Kirsty Caswell, the Charity’s Patient and Family Liaison Nurse, who is really providing me with support. She has pointed me in the direction of some good charities and people, which is really helping with my rehab.

I cannot express my gratitude enough to this amazing team. I set my birthday charity on Facebook as Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and raised over £250, which I am really pleased with. 

Supporting Kat – Kirsty Caswell, Patient and Family Liaison Nurse

When Kat and I first met, she had so many unanswered questions about what had happened and the medical care she received. She spent several hours with us, talking through her case and experiences and I hope she found that visit valuable. I know as a medical team, we did, as we were able to hear her view of the event and how she looks back on it.

Since then, Kat and myself have been in touch regularly and I’ve been following her journey of physical and mental recovery, which is still ongoing.

I have been able to signpost Kat towards some other sources of support, such as the Road Peace charity, who can offer peer support. I’ve also been able to offer advice on who to speak to in her rehab team and provide encouragement and goal setting when things have been tough – and they really have been tough at times.

Throughout, Kat’s positive mindset and determination to regain her ‘normal’ have been inspirational to me and I know her story will inspire others.

If you've been inspired by Kat's story and would like to help us to continue saving lives, we would be grateful to receive your donation. No matter how big or small, every penny donated really will make a big difference! Thank you.

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