Rory Arthur

Rory Arthur experienced the NHS at its best after he was involved in a serious car crash on a freezing winter night in 2000.

Rory was just 17 at the time, travelling home to Strathaven in Lanarkshire in the back of a friend’s car. In the sub zero temperatures, the car skidded on black ice and collided with an oncoming taxi. The side of the car next to where Rory was sitting took the full impact. It later transpired that he had broken his pelvis and ruptured his diaphragm – the wall of muscle between the chest and the stomach. That had pushed his lower internal organs up into his chest cavity and collapsed his left lung.

“The first thing I remember was waking up in the high dependency unit. . . .”

It took two hours for the fire service to cut Rory free from the wreckage and things did not look too good by the time he was rushed by ambulance to Harimyres hospital. Rory’s mother was given the distressing news that he may not survive.

A six hour operation followed to repair the injury to the diaphragm and correct the damage caused to his internal organs. It went well and the fact that Rory was young and fit stood him in good stead. He was transferred to intensive care.

“The first thing I remember was waking up in the high dependency unit on the Wednesday and the accident was on the Sunday,” said Rory. “I can’t remember anything else.”

He spent a week in the unit and then a further five weeks in hospital to allow his pelvis to heal. That meant lying on his back for the full five weeks to let the bones knit together again. Rory was then allowed home and started physiotherapy to build up the muscles that had deteriorated while he lay in his hospital bed. “I was 11 stone when I went in to hospital and only about nine stone when I came out” said Rory.

The recovery went well and today Rory can lead his life without any real restrictions. “I have to be careful and I tend not to lift anything too heavy or put any strain on my back. I have to watch my posture and I have been told I am likely to get arthritis in my pelvis in later life because of the break, which is not too good.”

However he knows that he might not be alive today if it was not for the skills of the fire and ambulance services and the medical team that put his shattered body back together again. “It is unbelievable how grateful you are for what they have done for you,” said Rory.

In the week after the accident Rory was on high dose painkillers which left him delirious. During this time he remembers with regret talking harshly to one of the nurses. “That is not like me but I didn’t know what was happening. The nurse just brushed it off and was so sympathetic to what I was going through. That’s what it was like - I can’t speak too highly of the help they gave me. “

Rory Arthur