Matthew sustained multiple injuries including fractures to his left leg, left scaphoid, knee ligament tear, a head injury and most significantly, he sustained a spinal cord injury at T6 level resulting in paralysis. After spending some time in his local hospital, he was then moved to the intensive care unit at Northern General Hospital on full ventilatory and haemodynamic support in view of respiratory infections, renal impairment, paralytic ileus (obstruction of the intestine due to paralysis of intestinal muscles and heart problems – to name but a few. He was then transferred to the Princess Royal Spinal Injuries Centre, based at Northern General Hospital for further management and rehabilitation.
His wrist fracture was only noticed part way into his admission and after undergoing fixation surgery, his wrist was put in plaster meaning that he could not engage in active rehabilitation. Matthew was then discharged to a rehab facility which was unsuitable due to the fact that it had no experience of spinal injury. Life was pretty tough.
Through his case with Fletchers, Matthew managed to obtain the funds necessary to get him out of the unit into independent accommodation with a case manager, a 24-hour PA and access to full therapy in the community. The majority of his rehabilitation has taken place in the community since then utilising payments from the other party’s insurance company.
Matthew presently lives in an apartment in Barnsley. A bespoke ramp was purchased to enable him to access the roof top garden. Matthew loved this apartment to begin with but is now frustrated by its size. He is presently looking for larger, bespoke properties but is making the most of his current property – he is currently growing vegetables on his roof top terrace and has set up his model trains in his therapy room.
Matthew likes to get out and about but was restricted by only having had a motorbike licence pre-accident. He went on to purchase a Ford Kuga Titanium X Sport which has been adapted. He went on to have driving lessons and then take his driving test in the same car. He is enjoying the independence.
He also went on to purchase a lighter weight RGK wheelchair which is easier to manoeuvre.
Matthew is continuing to try to make as much progress as he can with his rehabilitation. Matthew also receives support and assistance from his team of PA’s.
Matthew is currently part way through an Ekso skeleton trial. This high-tech US-designed piece of equipment is a metal, smart technology frame that a spinal injured person can wear/use to enable them to stand, walk, turn round, sit down and engage in weight bearing activity.
He has either physiotherapy, hydrotherapy or the Ekso trial five to seven days per week. He also tries to maintain aspects of this programme outside of the formal sessions. This is naturally very tiring for him!
We asked Matthew about life after injury and the legal process that has incurred after his accident:
I remember being laid in hospital wondering what my life would bring when I found out I would never walk.
It was when I was transferred to the spinal unit that I met with Louise Riley. Louise explained what had happened to me and the long journey I was to undertake to regain my life post injury and how she would help with that.
Louise was in daily contact with me to confirm what the legal process is about and what I needed to do. She helped me through issues I was having with family in relation to financial mistrust, as well as providing a breadth of information as to how the legal claim will help me now and in the future.
I thank Louise for the effort and time consuming work needed to get me out of the rehab facility which was not fit for purpose for my injury.
Louise and the team at Fletchers has enabled me to access many things which other people in my situation would not have access to, making me see things in a new light, and giving me hope that life is not about being stuck in a wheelchair, but living life no matter whether I walk or not.
Louise continues to be an inspiration to me, by reassuring me every week that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, the work I am putting in at the minute is worth it, and I will be living a much better life in the future, with the help, support and sheer determination of her in the case.