Crushed By A Lorry
A lesson learned the hard way…
What is it with teenagers and their headphones?
‘You’ll end up damaging your eardrums with that din,’ I was forever telling my daughter Danya, 14, not that she could even hear me over the clatter of her music.
It was February this year. Danya was crashed out on the sofa, listening to music through her headphones. Again. But she was 14. I never listened to the advice my mum gave me when I was her age!
Half an hour later, I’d dragged Danya off the sofa to walk with me to the Co-op at the end of the road.
I’d left my little boy, Ashby, four, at home with his dad, Danya’s stepdad and my fiancé, John.
We stopped to cross the road. Well, I stopped. Danya marched straight across. ‘Mind out!’ I cried, pulling her back. ‘Did you even look where you were going?’ I said. ‘You could’ve been run over!’
We did our bit of shopping and forgot about it.
But the next morning, as Danya was packing her bag for school, I remembered what had happened.
‘Try to be careful crossing the road,’ I told her. ‘Yes, Mum,’ Danya said. Then she put her headphones in, cranked up the volume and set off through the front door.
Just seconds later, I heard the sound of tyres screeching to a halt outside. And then… BANG!
‘Wait there!’ I said to Ashby before running outside. It was utter confusion. An HGV had just stopped dead in the middle of the road,
the driver shaking behind the wheel.
A handful of schoolkids were looking shocked, and some of them were crying.
And there, underneath the wheels of the HGV… ‘DANYA!’ I screamed.
She wasn’t moving, looked dead. There was blood all over.
The skin on her left leg had been torn open, her ankle bone protruding straight through it.
‘Stay with me, Danya,’ I cried, kneeling down. Suddenly, she moaned. She was alive! I’d read about moving people with injuries, and I was scared to do more damage. So, I knelt beside her. I could hear the music still blaring loudly from her headphones. ‘Everything’s going to be OK,’ I told her. But was it? Pulling my mobile from my pocket, I called John at work. Someone had already called 999. And then I looked at the driver. I knew what’d happened – Danya had had her music on too loud, and she’d stepped out into the road without looking. ‘I’m sorry,’ I mouthed to him. Within seconds, John and the ambulance arrived. Danya was barely conscious. ‘Stay here with Ashby,’ I told John before me and Danya were whisked off to Derriford Hospital. There, the doctor had bad news. ‘We need to put Danya into a coma,’ he said. ‘She has severe head injuries and we can’t risk her moving it at all.’ She’d broken her collarbone, pelvis, rib, left leg and ankle. And, even more terrifying, there was a bleed on her brain. A serious
I heard the screech of tyres then a bang
bleed. ‘Danya probably won’t
survive this,’ the doctor said gently. She was transferred to Bristol’s Frenchay Hospital and taken for emergency surgery.
Surgeons removed an eight-inch segment of Danya’s skull, above her right eyebrow, to relieve the pressure building up in her brain from the bleeding. ‘Please fight, Danya,’ I prayed.
After the six-hour op, she was taken to ICU, where I could see her.
The hole in her skull was covered with skin and bandages. The doctor warned she could be in a coma for the next six months. Now, all I could do was wait. And pray. Then, after just nine days,
Danya stirred. Her hand at first, just a small twitch.
A few minutes on, her eyes began to open and she saw me.
‘I love you, Mum,’ she croaked. I started to cry. Doctors said it was a miracle. They hadn’t expected her to make it.
As she got stronger, I told her what had happened.
She couldn’t remember anything. ‘I was so stupid,’ she cried. ‘The driver must’ve been so upset.’
He hadn’t been charged. We all knew it wasn’t his fault. Danya was in hospital for the next three months. She had loads more operations, including one to insert an acrylic plate in her skull to cover the hole.
She’d have to wear a special helmet for the next four months while the plate settled into position.
As soon as we were home, she was back to her normal self.
And, of course, she’s listening to her music again!
In the months since then, Danya’s started back at school.
But the most important lesson she’s learned has to be the simplest. Stop, look and listen. Danya’s learned the hard way. Make sure your kids don’t have to.
THE DOCTORS WARNED US THAT DANYA WOULDN’T SURVIVE HER INJURIES THE SKIN HAD BEEN TORN OFF HER LEG
Danya learned her lesson the hard way
Back on her feet with Ashby
Zarina Cope, 40, Plymouth
Danya had been warned about wearing headphones
She spent three months in hospital