Londoners’ experiences of life-changing injuries


Age at interview: 31

Brief outline: In 2005 Dave had a severe spinal cord injury when he was 25. He broke his neck when he dived into the sea. He was on holiday in Portugal at the time.

Background: Dave is a financial consultant. He is married. Ethnic background/nationality' White British.

Audio & video

In September 2005 Dave sustained a severe spinal cord injury. He injured himself while on holiday in Portugal. He dived into the water from the beach at ground level. He was taken to hospital in a state of shock, and was heavily sedated. He then had various tests and doctors confirmed that he has broken his neck. 
Dave was flown back to the UK to a specialist hospital. He was in bed for about eight weeks. He’d lost about four stone in weight and felt very weak. He was allowed out of bed for short periods of time and eventually was allowed up in a chair all day. He had physiotherapy and occupational therapy, and movement gradually improved during the first six months. Because of his limited hand function, Dave later decided to have a permanent catheter fitted, which was inserted during an operation under epidural anaesthetic.
After Dave left hospital, he went to his family home for a while and then returned to London, to his own specially adapted flat, where he now lives with his wife. He stressed that rehabilitation started in hospital but continued at home. He still has physiotherapy and does regular exercises. He has a carer during the day who helps him with personal care. His carer also empties his bag and help him to change his catheter every four weeks or when necessary. Dave’s carer is employed through the “Direct payments” scheme. 
Dave leads an active life, not only working but also helping with a spinal injury charity, the British Neurological Research Trust.    



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