PUBLISHED: 12:17 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 12:57 06 May 2010
SIR, — Following on from recent letters to your paper about the state of Harpenden roads, I wanted to relate an accident that has occurred because of this. The week before Christmas my wife was cycling into Harpenden to do some shopping and came off her b
SIR, - Following on from recent letters to your paper about the state of Harpenden roads, I wanted to relate an accident that has occurred because of this.
The week before Christmas my wife was cycling into Harpenden to do some shopping and came off her bicycle due to the condition of the roads when she hit a pothole. She suffered very serious facial injuries. She lost her bottom five teeth on impact and had a considerable amount of damage to her top teeth. She had to have a total of approximately 40 stitches to her nose, around her eye and to her lips, gums and tongue. During the subsequent surgery she had to have crushed bone removed from her gums. None of this would have happened had the roads been maintained in the state that they should have been.
I also wanted to bring to your readers attention some issues which may be of use to other people if they find themselves in a similar situation. Having called an ambulance, the local paramedic arrived very promptly. He saw the serious injuries to my wife's face and mouth and advised that she should be taken to the specialist Maxillofacial unit at Luton and Dunstable hospital just a few miles away. I asked the ambulance crew when they arrived shortly afterwards to take her there. However they said they couldn't take her there for some incomprehensible reason and instead took her to Hemel Hempstead A&E. They were unable to treat her injuries there. They took X-rays and gave her pain relief and then transferred her to Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow in West London which also has a Max Fax unit. The transfer in total took approximately four hours before she eventually arrived at the Northwick Park A&E department for treatment.
She then remained there for surgery and four more days of after care before being sent home. She also had to go back to Harrow for subsequent outpatient treatment. We then asked our GP to transfer her ongoing treatment to Luton & Dunstable but it took another month to get an appointment to be seen there as they had not treated her initially.
Has I known then what I later found out, I would have taken my wife myself in the car directly to Luton A&E so that she could have avoided the discomfort of a lengthy transfer and be treated in a hospital with the appropriate expertise close to home, friends and family.
Eastmoor Park, Harpenden.