Slurry ac­ci­dent farmer in‘mirac­u­lous’sur­vival tells of in­sur­ance blow

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY STAFF RE­PORTER

A FARMER who suf­fered near-fa­tal in­juries after be­ing over­come by slurry gas has re­vealed how his life has changed since the ac­ci­dent last year.

Ge­orge Haslett (44) col­lapsed while at­tempt­ing to res­cue lambs from a shed on his Claudy farm after he mixed hen slurry. His fa­ther Ron­nie found him ly­ing out­side the build­ing with a lamb in his arms.

Emer­gency ser­vices, in­clud­ing the air am­bu­lance, were scram­bled to the scene.

Ge­orge and Ron­nie, who was also over­come by the fumes as he tried to help his stricken son, were air­lifted to Alt­nagelvin Hos­pi­tal. Ge­orge was not ex­pected to re­cover. Ron­nie later de­scribed his son’s sur­vival as “a mir­a­cle”.

Doc­tors told Ash­ley, Ge­orge’s wife of 16 years, that he would be left se­verely brain dam­aged.

To­day, six months on, Ge­orge spends five days a week in hos­pi­tal, where he is learn­ing to walk again.

Speak­ing to the News Let­ter, he said that dur­ing his treat­ment he had been shocked to find that the farm in­sur­ance pol­icy he had re­lied on did not cover him for per­sonal in­jury.

“If this ac­ci­dent had hap­pened to some­one else (a third party) other than a pol­icy holder or per­son named, they would be cov­ered,” he said.

He urged other farm­ers to check that they were prop­erly in­sured.

“I just want to make other farm­ers aware of this, so that if the same thing hap­pened to them they would have some­thing in place when a life-chang­ing event hap­pens,” he said.

“The life that I once had was full and ac­tive but there have been many changes to a life try­ing to man­age in a wheel­chair.

“It could have been death as easy in my case and I have been for­tu­nate in lots of ways. But for you to think you are in­sured, then to find you’re not cov­ered, is not good news.”

He added: “My life has changed big time. I spent all my time work­ing and I had very lit­tle spare time for things other than the farm and work. I just want to make sure that no one else goes down the same route.”

He told the paper he had taken the cheapest quote just in or­der to have in­sur­ance.

“My­main­con­cernisthat­peo­ple aren’t tak­ing care of what they are in­sur­ing them­selves for,” he said. “Peo­ple think it will never hap­pen to them so they go for the cheaper quote. I don’t want an­other farmer to go through what I am fac­ing. Life changes with a blink, and there are so many peo­ple out there who think it will never hap­pen to them.”

Ge­orge Haslett at Mus­grave Park Hos­pi­tal in Belfast

PACE­MAKER

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