By Harry Bell
A 20 year old man who was paralysed in a road accident, has been reunited with the nurses and staff who gave him a reason to live.
Craig Sears, from Ayrshire, spent nine months in the spinal unit of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital after he suffered horrific injuries when his car slid off the road and into a ditch in June last year.
He suffered severe life-changing injuries in the crash, breaking his neck, shattering his C6 and C5 vertebrae and damaged his spinal cord which left him paralysed from the nipples down.
As a young, active man facing life in a wheelchair, some very dark days followed for Craig. That is until his nurses – and their mutual love of music- started to turn things around.
Craig said: “When I woke up in hospital and realised the extent of my injuries, I was in a very depressive state, I was asking nurses all sorts of inappropriate requests to just end my life, stuff like that for a week or so at the start.
“This all happened at the height of Covid, so we weren’t able to have visitors either. So the staff became my family at that time. I remember one of the nurses asking me if I liked music, and that’s when things started to improve for me.
“The nurses were busy, but when they had the time, they would sit and talk to me. It was often the students and the fact they were around my age helped too.
“They were so caring. It started with the music channel, with 70s and 80s music and soon I was singing to the nurses and then we were all singing together. One of the nurses was in the hospital choir, so she had a great voice.”
After spending time in the acute receiving ward Edenhall, Craig was transferred to the Phillipshill ward for rehabilitation.
Craig said: “Their input was invaluable. They pushed me to do things for myself and become more independent. Things like learning to wash myself.
“My independence is better than I ever thought it would be in the early days. The physios too pushed me and made me believe I could do things for myself. Amanda – she was amazing – on another level. They came up with little gadgets to help me do things. The help is ongoing too and they work together with my home support team even now.
“I’m doing well and hope to work in an area where I can spread awareness of spinal cord injuries, further my independence and travel.”
Craig’s Consultant, Mr Andre Des Etages, said: “We are delighted to have played such a significant role in Craig’s recovery and to hear that he is continuing to improve at home with community care teams.
“Our staff in Edenhall and Philipshill strive to deliver person centred, compassionate care which is underpinned by communication, kindness and trust. Taking the time to understand what is important to our patients as individuals is particularly important to our teams and I’m pleased to see such positive outcomes from their hard work.
“It’s always rewarding to hear patient stories of their experiences with us and I’m pleased that music therapy has been so beneficial to Craig in supporting both his physical and emotional recovery following his accident. We would also like to thank Craig for lifting spirits within the ward with his singing during a time when staff have been facing unprecedented challenges.
“I’d like to wish Craig all the best in his crowdfunding, his travel and his hopes to raise awareness of spinal cord injuries and look forward to hearing how his journey progresses.”
Craig is now crowd funding to buy a specialist wheelchair with quad controls, to give him more independence – https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-craig-raise-money-for-power-add-on?utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1&utm_medium=more&utm_source=customer