Cumbrian woman learns to walk again


A WOMAN who has relearned to walk following a horrific car crash has praised the air ambulance service which came to her aid. Sophie Court, from Hawkshead, Cumbria, was driving on the A66 heading towards Penrith when she lost control of her car as it aquaplaned and crashed into a tree on May 11, 2015. The 24-year-old, who was on her way to work at the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, said: “Two cars in front of me slowed suddenly so I slammed on my breaks and hit a puddle of water which made me lose control of the car.

A WOMAN who has relearned to walk following a horrific car crash has praised the air ambulance service which came to her aid.

Sophie Court, from Hawkshead, Cumbria, was driving on the A66 heading towards Penrith when she lost control of her car as it aquaplaned and crashed into a tree on May 11, 2015.

The 24-year-old, who was on her way to work at the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, said: “Two cars in front of me slowed suddenly so I slammed on my breaks and hit a puddle of water which made me lose control of the car. I went across the carriageway and hit the central reservation which then rebounded me back into a tree. The right hand side of the car and front bumper were all smashed in.

“I was trapped but I was able to flag down a car and the driver, a man from Cockermouth, called the emergency services.

“I can remember the police and paramedics arriving as well as the fire engine from Penrith who then called a second team from Shap. I was trapped for about two hours. They had to break the back window and take the roof off to free me. It was a complicated procedure because my foot had gone through the floor. I wanted to get out because I thought the car might blow up.”

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) arrived at the scene and the on-board doctor and paramedic crew worked alongside a rapid response doctor from the BASICS team and the North West Ambulance Service to treat Miss Court before she was flown to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary. The flight took 20 minutes.

She said: “I was given some ketamine and I remember coming round in the helicopter and I asked whether I was dead because when I looked up all I could see was clouds.”

Miss Court had suffered a broken left tibia, displaced right femur and a tailbone injury.

In hospital, she underwent an operation and spent two weeks in the RVI before being transferred to the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle, for a further four days.

Then she had to relearn to walk again and after almost nine months, Miss Court walked for the first time without sticks to aid her. Yesterday, (Tuesday 9) she made a visit to the GNAAS base at Langwathby.

She said: “It’s been an on-going process. I’ve realised how quickly life can change. I was told that my feet were nearly amputated.

“It’s been a pause on my year but I’m going to be okay. I feel very grateful that I have seen life from a wheelchair. It was interesting and I found the world was difficult. It’s opened my eyes and in the future I hope to help people in that position.

“I’m not sure my legs will ever be as strong as they were before but I’m here. GNAAS are amazing. With the location of Cumbria and vast mountains, they do a great job. I just wanted to say thank you as I can’t remember much so I feel like it is some kind of closure. If it wasn’t for these people maybe I wouldn’t be where I am today so it’s a massive thing.” 

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