Laura Newman was rushed to the East Midlands Major Trauma Centre at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre after an accident at her family’s private stables in June 2014. Laura, an international three day event rider who lives in Breaston, Derbyshire, was kicked by one of her horses, leaving her with serious chest injuries and struggling to breathe.
‘It’s amazing how much damage a single kick can cause,’ says Laura, who’s also a former international showjumper who successfully competed up to the top World Cup level. ‘When the paramedics arrived, they quickly realised that I needed specialist emergency treatment so they called in the air ambulance. Time really was of the essence and the helicopter saved valuable time in getting me to QMC as quickly as possible.’
At the East Midlands Major Trauma Centre, clinicians found that Laura had eight broken ribs – four of which were classed as life-threatening ‘flail fractures’ and were penetrating her lung – and a broken vertebra. She was immediately taken to the Intensive Care Unit and put on a chest drain before having an operation to repair her ribs the following day.
When the accident took place, Laura’s baby girl was just 11 months old and was still being breastfed. ‘The midwives at QMC were brilliant and helped me express milk whilst I was in Intensive Care and then in the Major Trauma Unit at ward C30,’ she says. ‘It was hard being away from my daughter when she was so young, but all the staff at QMC were very supportive.’
Laura was able to go home two weeks after her accident. She’s making a good recovery but still needs to take painkillers for soreness. ‘I know I had a lucky escape and the fact that I’m still here is down to the air ambulance and the fantastic team at the Major Trauma Centre. In fact, they’ve now saved my life twice as I was also taken to QMC by air ambulance after a road traffic accident in 2008 – so I really can’t thank them enough.’
Whilst Laura’s recent accident has unfortunately affected her eventing training, she’s still hoping to be in with a chance of qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with a horse she’s trained herself.