Trauma Survivor: Shan's Story

Shan was hit by a car so hard that doctors gave her just 6% chance of survival.

Thankfully she pulled through, and determined to stay positive, designed a bucket list as part of her recovery plan.

Shan is now sharing her story in support of our Trauma Appeal

The accident 

Three years ago, Shan was leaving a beauty therapy appointment when she was hit by a car.  

“All that I remember is leaving work to attend a beauty therapy appointment. I do not have any recollection of events after that until I woke up in hospital 8 days later, frightened and confused with my family by my side,” she says.

Doctors informed her that her injury severity score was 64 out of a possible 75. She broke every rib, both legs, her shoulder and shoulder blade as well as many other breaks and fractures. Internally, she had injuries to her lungs and a pancreatic bleed. Shan adds: “The consultant treating me for my lungs and said that in his 30 years of practice, he had only seen similar rib damage in Afghanistan, treating soldiers injured in bomb blasts.”

Shan was treated at Southampton General Hospital, her nearest Major Trauma Centre. Since Major Trauma Centres were introduced in 2012 for patients with severe injuries, an additional 1,600 lives have been saved. 

“My family were told that my situation was potentially life ending and if I did survive I would have a very long recovery. The photograph above was a ‘happy’ day, when I woke up and had the breathing tube extracted. My husband Pip shared this with me the evening before I left hospital 3 months later as I was feeling very depressed - I use this photograph now to look back at how far I have come.”

The bucket list

During Shan’s time in hospital she wanted to focus on positive things and worked on a bucket list with her daughter Stephanie: “I'm somebody who loves to plan and when I was sitting in that bed in agony not knowing when I could walk again, I had to think of lovely things,” she says. “Everything involved family and friends and going to places which had good memories.”

“The top of the list was a holiday to our favourite place, Barbados. It also included trips to Santorini and Faenza. One of the other events on my bucket list was a ‘Staying Alive Party’ (pictured below) which was a bit of a belated 50th birthday party for me, since I’d been in hospital for the real thing. It was my way of saying thank you for the friendship and support that my family, colleagues, medical team and friends had given to me. What a night we had!”

Working full-time wasn’t an option for Shan post-accident. So she set up her own HR consultancy business, Liverty HRnamed after a small boat she saw in Barbados on the anniversary of her accident. Liverty means ‘energy of life’. She has also started Little London Brides wedding dress business with her daughter.

“I've had to totally change my way of life, it's about making time for myself and not overdoing it. My bucket list is about taking something that's happened to you and turning it into something positive.”

Life three years on

Shan is now supporting our Trauma Appeal to help trauma patients receive the best treatments and rehabilitation: “Having lived the experience I know there's some brilliant work going on but we need to do so much more, especially in the area of rehabilitation,” she said. “I know we can both save more lives and make sure people enjoy their lives again.”

“Thanks to the work of the medical professionals and charities out there, major progress has been made in the treatment of trauma patients in the UK. Some of those improvements introduced helped to save my life and have made my rehab a lot easier. However, we need to keep making differences by sharing our experiences.”

Shan is now featured on the AfterTrauma website and she regularly presents her story at trauma conferences such as these events in Edinburgh and Birmingham in November. Her insights were also used as a case study to contribute to recent NICE Trauma Guidelines. 

“Pain is a constant feature of my life and I sometimes feel very trapped in my own body. I'm a very positive and determined person, which has helped me make the recovery I have but I know I will never be the same.”

 

Help improve treatment and recovery for trauma patients like Shan.

Donate to our trauma appeal