The Riverine Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By Ivy Jensen

I felt a crack and I hon­estly thought I’d smashed my face. I couldn’t move my jaw. The pain was ex­cru­ci­at­ing. It was just dread­ful. It pet­ri­fies me now when I think back to that day. I’ve been shak­ing ever since it hap­pened

MAU­REEN Davis looks like the vic­tim of a sav­age beat­ing (pic­tured).

The 71-year-old’s face is black and blue and her ribs are ex­ten­sively bruised.

But the Moama woman is not the vic­tim of a vi­o­lent at­tack. Her in­juries are the re­sult of a fall from trip­ping on a cracked foot­path in Echuca last week. ‘‘It was just ter­ri­fy­ing,’’ she said. ‘‘It pet­ri­fies me now when I think back to that day. I’ve been shak­ing ever since it hap­pened.’’

Mrs Davis had just left her po­di­a­trist ap­point­ment about 10.30am last Tues­day, turn­ing the cor­ner into Hare St from Eyre St.

‘‘Af­ter about 50m, I tripped over a dam­aged part of the foot­path. I tried to con­trol my­self and then I tripped over an­other un­even and cracked part of the foot­path,’’ she said.

‘‘I landed hard on my chest and face. I felt a crack and I hon­estly thought I’d smashed my face. I couldn’t move my jaw. The pain was ex­cru­ci­at­ing. It was just dread­ful.’’

Shock­ingly, sev­eral cars drove straight past Mrs Davis, who called her daugh­ter be­fore drag­ging her­self 50m to the in­ter­sec­tion.

‘‘Even­tu­ally af­ter about five or 10 min­utes a lady stopped and helped me. By that time, I had man­aged to prop my­self up and my daugh­ter had called an am­bu­lance. I hon­estly didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t speak prop­erly and I was spit­ting blood and my nose was bleed­ing. I was in shock.’

Once she ar­rived at Echuca hos­pi­tal, X-rays were done on her head, chest and back to de­ter­mine if she had bro­ken any bones.

‘‘Thank­fully noth­ing was bro­ken but my whole face was black and I had bruises and abra­sions to my chest and ribs,’’ she said.

Mrs Davis spent four nights in the ERH’s med­i­cal ward be­fore be­ing dis­charged on Satur­day.

‘‘I’m still very sore and bruised and have trou­ble walk­ing,’’ she said.

Mrs Davis said the ex­pe­ri­ence had shat­tered her con­fi­dence.

‘‘I love walk­ing but I’m very re­luc­tant now,’’ she said. ‘‘This has been hor­rific. It’s left me ter­ri­bly anx­ious and ner­vous and fright­ened to walk now.’’

MRS Davis is now call­ing on Cam­paspe Shire Coun­cil to fix the dam­aged foot­paths around town. ‘‘I’d like coun­cil to take a bit of time to look at these foot­paths be­cause we have a lot of el­derly peo­ple who walk for health rea­sons and had I been 10 years older, I don’t think I would have lived through this,’’ she said. Cam­paspe Shire act­ing in­fra­struc­ture ser­vices gen­eral man­ager Richard Con­way said foot­paths across the shire were in­spected reg­u­larly and re­paired where nec­es­sary in line with the road man­age­ment plan, which sets out the hi­er­ar­chy of foot­paths (pri­mary or sec­ondary), in­spec­tion pro­grams and in­ter­ven­tion lev­els (when works are re­quired). ‘‘As well as the reg­u­lar in­spec­tion pro­gram, in­spec­tions are also done ev­ery time a com­mu­nity mem­ber raises a ser­vice re­quest about a sec­tion of foot­path,’’ he said. Mr Con­way en­cour­aged Mrs Davis to lodge a ser­vice re­quest so an in­spec­tion can be com­pleted and ac­tion taken as re­quired. ‘‘Main­te­nance may in­clude grind­ing out a step in the foot­path or re­plac­ing lo­calised bays with new con­crete,’’ he said. ‘‘Coun­cil also in­vests in the re­place­ment of ex­ist­ing sec­tions of foot­path each year. Coun­cil has com­mit­ted $400,000 to the foot­path pro­gram in the 2018-19 fi­nan­cial year.’’ Mrs Davis said she would lodge a re­quest yes­ter­day. She also thanked ev­ery­one who helped her through this or­deal, from the woman who found her and the paramedics who re­sponded so quickly, to the nurses and doc­tors at ERH. ‘‘I can’t fault any of them. I felt the love and care and pro­fes­sion­al­ism of the group of peo­ple look­ing af­ter me,’’ she said. ‘‘I was a mess, but the treat­ment I re­ceived at the hos­pi­tal was ab­so­lutely over­whelm­ing. ‘‘The nurses and doc­tors helped me get through so much and made my life eas­ier. ‘‘We’re very lucky to have such a won­der­ful fa­cil­ity in Echuca and I think ev­ery­one should ap­pre­ci­ate what we have as the staff go above and be­yond.’’

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