Sur­vivor of freak ac­ci­dent to take on half marathon

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

MUM Son­ali Das Simp­son was col­lect­ing her daugh­ter from school when she was crushed by her own car in a freak ac­ci­dent.

She suf­fered a cat­a­logue of hor­ren­dous in­juries in­clud­ing more than a dozen frac­tured ribs and two col­lapsed lungs.

Af­ter be­ing given life­sav­ing chest surgery in the car park of the school – and then taken by air am­bu­lance for fur­ther treat­ment in hospi­tal – Son­ali went on to make a mirac­u­lous re­cov­ery.

“I was parked on a slight in­cline on a grassy area,” said Son­ali, re­call­ing the hor­ri­fy­ing in­ci­dent in June 2015.

“I opened up the back door on the pas­sen­ger’s side to let my daugh­ter Caitlin into the car.

“She climbed in and man­aged to knock off the hand brake. The car started rolling to­wards me with her in it.

“I tried to stop the car as best I could but the weight of the car pushed me over.”

The car ran di­ag­o­nally across her chest and then kept on trav­el­ling down the in­cline.

Amaz­ingly, de­spite her dev­as­tat­ing in­juries, Son­ali man­aged to get up and check on her daugh­ter who had man­aged to jump out of the mov­ing car.

“Even though the car had just crushed me, I some­how man­aged to get up and make sure my daugh­ter was OK,” she said.

“They say peo­ple with a lot of adrenalin go­ing through them can do ‘su­per­hu­man’ things like lift in­cred­i­bly heavy things. I think my moth­erly in­stinct just kicked in.

“Caitlin ran over to me and started cry­ing. It was at that point I fell to the ground.”

Luck­ily an off-duty GP was on the scene when the ac­ci­dent hap­pened at the pri­mary school in Porth­cawl.

“I re­mem­ber ask­ing Caitlin to get my mo­bile phone from my hand­bag so I could phone work and tell them I wasn’t go­ing to be in.”

An am­bu­lance was im­me­di­ately called to the scene, fol­lowed by a he­li­copter from the Wales Air Am­bu­lance which reached her in just nine min­utes.

She was treated by Dr Di­nen­dra Gill, Dr Craig Wil­liams and crit­i­cal care prac­ti­tioner Chris Connor – all part of the so­called “Fly­ing Doc­tors” crit­i­cal care team on board the air am­bu­lance.

They gave the dis­tressed mum life­sav­ing chest surgery in the car park of the school be­fore tak­ing her to Mor­ris­ton Hospi­tal in Swansea for pi­o­neer­ing surgery on her ribs.

“If they hadn’t been there and given me the vi­tal blood prod­ucts I needed I would have died,” she said.

“The paramedics were ex­cel­lent, but they couldn’t have done the things the on-board con­sul­tant did. The Fly­ing Doc­tors are sav­ing lives – and I’m proof of it.”

De­spite suf­fer­ing ex­ten­sive in­juries and be­ing placed in an in­duced coma, Son­ali made a re­mark­able re­cov­ery which the med­i­cal staff said was partly down to her ex­cel­lent fit­ness lev­els.

Af­ter 16 days in hospi­tal, 13 days in the in­ten­sive care unit, Son­ali was able to go home to re­cover.

“I have a few aches and pains now but noth­ing more than that. Hav­ing a bit of a sore back is a small price to pay for be­ing alive,” said the op­ti­cian.

She is now planning on tak­ing on the Cardiff Half Marathon this Sun­day with the help of Team Bre­con Car­reg.

For ev­ery mile the team of 10 runs, Bre­con Car­reg will do­nate £1.

Son­ali added: “The Wales Air Am­bu­lance are life­savers in ev­ery which way that term can be used.

“This is a way for me to thank them. I am hon­oured that our team will help fund more life­sav­ing call-outs.”

Mark Stevens, Wales Air Am­bu­lance fundrais­ing man­ager, said: “As a char­ity, we rely on sup­port and do­na­tions to raise the £6.5m needed ev­ery year to keep our four heli­copters fly­ing.

“We would like to thank Son­ali and Bre­con Car­reg for their sup­port, which is help­ing to fund our mis­sions across Wales.”

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