PAUL’S FAMILY ‘DEVASTATED’ BY DELAY IN GETTING HIM INTO HOME
THE family of quadriplegic Paul Curtis have been left “gutted” because the ex-Harlequins star’s release from hospital has been delayed. It was hoped the former rugby player – who broke his neck having hurtled downhill on a mountain bike into a tree – would be able to move into a nursing home on November 27.
But a bureaucratic hold-up meant the OK was given a week later than hoped.
By the time it came, the bed in the nursing home had been filled – so Paul is still in Rookwood Hospital in Cardiff, which specialises in rehabilitation.
“He’s back in Rookwood,” wife Rhian said.
“We’re absolutely gutted. Rookwood are contacting different care homes in the area to see if anyone has a room and if anyone has the nursing skills needed to look after him.
“We’re devastated, absolutely devastated, but we cannot change it.”
She said dad-of-three Paul had been “amazing” in coping with the setback.
“He is going to be there for at least another fortnight and we are working our socks off to get him out before Christmas,” Rhian, 56, said. “It’s a damn shame but there you are.” Paul was left fighting for his life after a mountain bike accident that left him wheelchair-bound. “It’s no one’s fault, it’s just how the system works,” Rhian said.
“The nursing home kept Paul’s bed empty for a couple of weeks so they played their part.”
After the accident Paul was raced to University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, by ambulance.
At 20 stone and 6ft 2in Paul, nicknamed Titch, was too big to get in a helicopter.
Rhian was philosophical about the delay.
“It’s happened for a reason and it might be that somewhere better or nicer comes up,” the retired teacher said.
“You’ve to always have a ‘glass halffull’ attitude.
“Paul wants to come closer to home because he does not like me driving at night in the winter.
“And it means the grandchildren can go and see him in the evenings instead of once a week.”
This is impossible at the moment because Paul is in Cardiff and his family live in Penclawdd, Gower.
“There is a nursing home at the bottom of the road where my daughter and grandchildren live,” Rhian said.
“He was saying if he goes there and has an electric wheelchair he can take them to school.”
Paul was lucky to survive his crash, on September 17 last year.
After it he spent months pumped full of drugs looking at the ceiling.
“We’ll have him out of there by Christmas – we’ll get him somewhere, we’ve got a month,” Rhian said.
“I do not want him to spend another Christmas in hospital. We’ll find him somewhere.”
In October Paul beat the odds and escorted his daughter down the aisle at her wedding to fiancé Liam Bracher.
“The sooner we get all this sorted the better,” Rhian said.
The family are trying to raise £150,000 to convert their home to suit Paul’s needs.
Rhian was unsure exactly how much had been raised so far but it could be as much as £100,000.
More fundraisers are due to take place – including a meal at Michel Roux Jr’s Michelin starred Le Gavroche, organised by former England rugby captain Will Carling.
“Without wishing to put a curse on it, I think we’ll probably go over the amount we need,” Rhian said.
For more details and to contribute to the fund visit www.paulcurtisfund.com
Former rugby player Paul Curtis is hoping to move from Rookwood Hospital, Cardiff, into a nursing home