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