A former astrophysicist who had a leg amputated after a crash has marked a major milestone in her bid to live independently after having a prosthetic limb fitted – allowing her to walk on two feet again.
Dr Alison Broadbent suffered a number of serious injuries when she was knocked down by a van while crossing Acacia Road in Bishop Auckland. Alison, 55, had to have her right leg amputated above the knee.
Following the crash Alison, of Bishop Auckland, instructed expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate and help her access the specialist rehabilitation and therapies she requires.
While police decided not to charge the driver, Alison’s legal team at Irwin Mitchell has now reached an agreement on liability with the van driver’s insurers.
Two years on from the collision, Alison has now been fitted with the definitive socket for her prosthetic leg, which has been specifically designed for her, allowing her to wear the prosthetic leg on a regular basis. She already has more independence and has recently walked 1.2 miles on her prosthetic leg.
“The consequences of the collision and the devastating injuries she suffered have had a tremendous impact on Alison’s life," said Laura Mcilduff, an Associate Solicitor in our Newcastle serious injury team.
“Alison’s injuries were so severe that doctors originally thought that she may not be able to use a prosthetic leg. However, despite what happened to her, Alison has always remained positive and determined to regain as much of her independence as possible.
“While nothing can make up for what has happened, we are pleased to have secured an admission on liability, allowing Alison to access the specialist support and therapies she requires.
“Alison being fitted with her definitive socket has provided her with a real boost in her regaining her independence.
“However, we hope what happened to her also acts as a warning of the consequences of the need for drivers to take care on the roads at all times.”
Alison was a former astrophysicist before becoming a landscape gardener. She was crossing Acacia Road when she was involved in a collision with a Vauxhall Movano Van at around 5pm on 15 November, 2018.
The driver was arrested on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving but police later decided to take no action against him.
Alison, who was trapped under the vehicle and had to be freed, was taken to James Cook University Hospital.
She had suffered multiple leg fractures, a fractured pelvis and collarbone as well as degloving injuries where skin was ripped from her arm, hand and leg,
Doctors ruled there was little option other than to amputate her right leg just below the hip. She also underwent a number of other operations including skin grafts. Alison was discharged from hospital on 18 January, 2019.
While she has made significant progress, Alison continues to endure issues with her right arm and hand, whilst she also suffers from mobility and balance issues.
Irwin Mitchell is working alongside a range of people including a case manager, neuro-physiotherapist, occupational therapist, psychologist and dietician as it looks to ensure Alison has the support she needs. The law firm also secured funds to help adapt Alison’s home to meet her needs.
For several months, Alison has travelled to the Blatchford Clinic in Sheffield to be fitted with her custom made prosthetic leg. The leg includes a computerised knee and hydraulic ankle joint allowing Alison to walk, stand up or sit down.
She has started taking part in dance therapy sessions to improve her balance and mobility on her leg.
Alison said: “Particularly at first it was hard to accept and come to terms with what had happened while also seeming to have to attend endless medical appointments and assessments.
“However, in some respects I know I’m fortunate. I’m still alive and now determined to try and move on and make the most of life.
“I know life won’t quite be the same again but I don’t want to be defined by my injuries.
“I can’t thank enough everyone who has helped me over the past two years. Being fitted with my prosthetic leg means so much to me and is a major milestone for me.
“Doing things like going outside for fresh air or going to the shop will be a lot easier for me now.
“While it’s vital that everyone takes care on the roads to prevent people being seriously hurt, I also hope that others in a similar situation to me feel that they don’t have to suffer alone as there is help out there.”
Road Safety Week is organised by the charity Brake and runs from 16-22 November.
Find out more about our expertise in helping people following road crashes in our serious injury section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.