RMCH Charity: Lucy's Story
Eight-year-old Lucy from Hunger Hill
went to the shop and ended up needing to be taken to Royal
Manchester Children's Hospital by Air Ambulance. Here her dad
Dave tells us their story:
It was a Thursday morning in early September, Lucy was playing
out with friends when she came to me and asked if she could go the
local shop. I was in the middle of paperwork and said: "Give
me ten minutes and I'll take you."
At 11.30am, a little boy on his scooter knocked on our door and
gave us the news no parent wants to hear - Lucy had been run
over. I shouted my wife Sharon, and we ran out of the house,
didn't lock the doors and got straight into the car to go and look
As we approached we could see two girls lying on the floor, I
didn't know which one Lucy was or what state she was in. There were
ambulances, police, and fire engines and then I heard the
helicopter - I instantly knew it was bad and I thought we are going
to lose our little girl.
I saw Lucy and there was a lady holding her hand giving her
comfort. Lucy was unconscious and the paramedics had hold of
her head and they were cutting her clothes off as they needed to
get her on a stretcher and to the helicopter 100 yards away.
Sharon lay on the floor and held Lucy's hand. Lucy had grazes
and we could see there was no skin on her knuckle. I just
wanted to pick her up and hug her, but they needed to get Lucy
stable as she wasn't responding, not even to our voices.
They explained that they needed to put Lucy into a medically
induced coma. I was shocked; the severity of the situation truly
hit home. They told us Lucy would be taken to Royal
Manchester Children's Hospital and we were put into a police car
and driven straight there.
I assumed Lucy would land directly at the hospital but we were
later told that the helicopter had landed in a park and Lucy had
then been transferred to a road ambulance to be taken to the
hospital, extra time in getting my daughter to the care she
When we arrived at the hospital, Lucy was in resus in the
Accident and Emergency Department being assessed. It felt
like time was dragging, I just wanted to know she was going to be
The doctors came to see us and told us Lucy was very, very
poorly. We were told that an ultrasound revealed that she had
a lacerated kidney and that Lucy would need a CT Scan of her head
and body to assess if there was any damage.
We went with her for the CT scan and sat outside desperately
waiting for news. The doctor came to us and told us that Lucy
had a fractured skull and that she has likely injured her brain but
couldn't say at that point to what extent and how Lucy would be
They told us she would need an MRI Scan and within two hours of
arriving at the hospital Lucy was moved to the Paediatric Intensive
Care Unit (PICU).
I was shocked when I saw all the wires coming out of her. She
had wires on her hands, feet and legs as well as her heart.
We were told that Lucy had bruising on the brain and so that they
could monitor the pressure they would need to put a wire inside her
head. I sat by my little girl's side for the next three days
and nights talking to her, stroking her and watching the monitors -
desperately hoping she was going to be OK.
A few days later they told us that they would start to bring her
out of the coma. They tried to take the intubation away but
she was struggling with her breathing - they told us that this was
normal so not to worry, but when you just want your little girl
back it's hard not to.
Lucy was finally able to breathe by herself but we were told it
could take a few days before she might respond as all the
medication would still be in her system. It was still a shock
when she didn't move and I found myself watching and waiting for
the slightest movement. I just wanted her to look at me and say
A doctor came to check her reactions and pressed his knuckle
onto her chest. She grimaced and the doctor gave us a thumbs
up. That was a huge wave of relief and was the first time
since the accident that I thought there was a chance that
everything might be OK.
Even though Lucy started to come round it was still a waiting
game to see what damage her brain may have suffered and what her
long term prognosis might be - we didn't know if she would be the
active sporty little girl she was before.
Lucy's consultant Doctor Vassallo took us into a room and showed
us the scans of her brain. She told us there would be some
changes to Lucy, but it could take weeks or months until we knew
the full extent. They prepared us for the fact that her
personality may have completely changed and her speech may be
After five days on PICU, Lucy was moved to the High Dependency
Unit and that felt like a step in the right direction. Her progress
was good and just 24 hours later she was moved to a ward.
Lucy started to move, she would crawl around to try and get
things and she would try and get out of bed but she had a broken
tibia and fibia and had to have a full leg cast for six weeks,
which made it difficult for her and we were still waiting for her
We'd been in hospital for 12 days and I was still waiting for a
"Hello Daddy" from her. My mobile phone rang, and it was Lucy's
teacher from school. Lucy held her hand out for the phone. I
told her who it was and passed her the phone, I heard her teacher
start talking and then Lucy replied. To hear her voice was
such a relief that I had to turn away so Lucy couldn't see the
tears in my eyes and her Mum Sharon had to go out the room as the
emotion of it all just hit us.
Lucy continued to get better and was receiving intense physio
and speech and language therapy, and then we got some fantastic
news - we could take her home for a weekend.
I can't tell you how great it feels to bring your daughter home,
to feel like you are returning to normal life. I was just sad that
we had to go back into hospital on the Monday but they needed to
continue to assess Lucy and see how the injury had affected her
After spending nearly one month in hospital we were told that we
could go home permanently. We were ecstatic. We just had to
come back for follow-up outpatient appointments to check Lucy's
hearing, eyes, her kidney and also her fractures.
When we first got home we had to readjust and Lucy didn't want
to go out at all. It felt like she was afraid to leave the
house or she would want to leave and we would pull up at somewhere
like Asda and she'd ask to go straight home. We also had to deal
with some night terrors, which we think was Lucy reliving snippets
of the accident.
Several months on we can see more now how Lucy has changed, our
once quiet and shy daughter is now more forward, often speaking
what is in her head making for some awkward and also funny
situations with people who don't know about her injury. Her
learning ability has been affected more on the reading side of
things and her memory isn't as good as it was before the accident.
Her appetite, however, is much better and she now eats like a
Lucy says she can't remember the accident but we can and it took
me six months before I would let her out the door to play with her
We've just been given the news that there are no scars on her
kidney and to look at her you can't tell she had a fractured skull,
we can see there is a slight skin colour change on that side but
nobody else notices.
We knew Lucy was in the best possible place for her care, the
PICU team were fantastic and we love Dr Vassallo. Looking back we
assumed that Lucy would have flown and landed straight at the
children's hospital, not at a park.
We are lucky. Lucy is doing really well and was able to access
the care she needed in time. However, we are only too aware
how different our situation could have been had she not got to
hospital when she did. The precious time that secondary
transfer by road ambulance takes has the potential to be the
difference between life and death or between living well and just