Hartlepool survivor is “woman of steel” says charity


A HOSPITAL radiographer who bounced back from a serious car crash and a heart defect has been called a “woman of steel” by the charity which played a key role in her recovery. Laura Reid, 24, from Hartlepool, driving to work when she came off the road and hit a tree in September 2014. The roof of her vehicle had to be cut off in order for her to be freed.

A HOSPITAL radiographer who bounced back from a serious car crash and a heart defect has been called a “woman of steel” by the charity which played a key role in her recovery.

Laura Reid, 24, from Hartlepool, driving to work when she came off the road and hit a tree in September 2014.

The roof of her vehicle had to be cut off in order for her to be freed. She suffered serious chest injuries including seven fractured ribs and a punctured lung.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) flew its doctor-led trauma team to the scene. She was given advanced care on the roadside before being airlifted to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough. 

Miss Reid remained there for ten days, seven of which were spent in the high dependency unit where doctors could closely monitor her condition.

She said: “My organs took a bit of a battering. I can’t really remember much about the accident, however, I recovered well and I was back at work within seven weeks.”

About a year after the accident, Miss Reid, a diagnostic radiographer at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, took the decision to improve on her health and fitness, but this brought to attention a further health issue.

She said: “After a session at the gym I was suffering from chest pains so I went to A&E. I had a scan at James Cook and they found that my heart was massively enlarged.”

Miss Reid was told that she had an atrial septal defect, commonly known as a hole in the heart.

“It was too big to leave so I went to Freeman Hospital in Newcastle where I had open heart surgery,” she said. “I felt brilliantly afterwards.

“ Beforehand, I didn’t think I had any symptoms to indicate that I had a heart problem but now I realise that it’s not natural to get out of breath so easily. My heart rate used to be sky high but now it’s normal.”

Miss Reid is now challenging herself by taking on the Great North Run to raise funds for GNAAS.

She continued: “I have some really good training sessions but some days I just think ‘how on earth am I going to do this?’

“I’m a mixture between anxious and really excited about it, but I hope it will be an unbelievable experience.

“GNAAS saved my life, they are an incredible service and this is my way of paying them back, whilst ticking something off my bucket list.”

Jim Entwistle, GNAAS spokesman, said: “Having lived through what she has, Laura would be forgiven for sitting at home and wrapping herself in cotton wool. Instead, she’s out there training for a half marathon. 

“Laura is a woman of steel and we are honoured to have her as a supporter.”

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