‘Next step is walking with crutches’ - Jamie’s working hard to get back on his feet
Date: 30 November 2022
In April 2022, Jamie Hardesty and his wife Sammy (pictured with Jamie, right) went on an adventure holiday to North Wales. While on a solo hike on Mount Tryfan, Snowdonia, Jamie tried to climb down to a ledge and fell 30ft down the mountain, landing on his back. When Jamie was airlifted to the Major Trauma Centre, based at Aintree University Hospital, in collaboration with The Walton Centre, they found that he had broken his chest, ribcage, back in three places, and had collapsed both of his lungs in the fall.
Jamie said: “I knew I was in a bad way, but I didn’t know to what extent. I couldn’t move my legs, so I thought that I’d badly broken them. I was confused when I got to A&E because I was pleading with them not to amputate my legs, not knowing that it was referred pain from the damage done to my spine.”
During the initial assessment in the Major Trauma Centre, Consultant Spinal Surgeon Miss Maggie Lee assessed Jamie and conducted the complex spinal surgery he needed.
The 31 year old, from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, continued: “Miss Lee was amazing at calming me down in those initial conversations. I was in surgery for a long time while she was reinforcing my spine. When I woke up I had no sensation below my hips, the damage was that extensive.”
Jamie had sustained Thoracic-level spinal damage, which affected his mobility, but as the injury was classed as an ‘Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury’, it means that there is potential for recovery.
Jamie continued: “I remember being very upset after the surgery because of the lack of feeling in my legs. I’m a very active person, I’ve run half-marathons in the past, I love walking and hiking. So facing the prospect of never being able to walk again hit me very hard. But Miss Lee and the staff on Horsley ICU were excellent in looking after me and keeping my spirits up.”
Since the injury, Jamie has been receiving intensive physiotherapy in the community to help get back on his feet and is so far up to walking with a Zimmer frame. Recently, he came back to The Walton Centre to visit Miss Lee and the teams that helped save his life and mobility.
Jamie said: “Progress is slow and I’m using a wheelchair mainly for the moment, but considering the extent of the damage I’m grateful to be this far along. I was so happy to come back and see the staff and Miss Lee to show them my progress. I’m determined to carry on my rehabilitation and walk unassisted again. Next step – walking with crutches!
Miss Lee said: “With an injury like this, initial treatment is to stabilise the spinal column so we can mobilise and treat the patient safely. The initial trauma causes the spinal cord to be inflamed and swollen, preventing the nerves from functioning properly and this can be devastating. As at times, there may be no function, there can be loss of sensation, loss of movement or loss of control of body functions. As this settles, nerves can regain some function, especially with an incomplete injury and individuals may recover some function as late as 18 months after the injury.
“It is important to remember that all patients are individuals and outcomes can differ. Jamie had a great positive attitude, which plays an important part in his rehabilitation. He is surrounded by his supportive family and a great team of therapists. I only played a small part in his journey; he is an inspiration to other patients with spinal cord injury. I am so pleased to see how far he’s come in six months. I hope he continues to recover well.”
Notes to editors
Further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact the Communications Team at The Walton Centre on 0151 556 3397 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust is the only hospital trust in the UK specialising in neurology, neurosurgery and pain services. Although the majority of patients come from Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales, Lancashire and the Isle of Man, for some specialist treatments of complex disorders we see patients from all parts of the country, referred by their GPs or other neurologists, neurosurgeons and pain clinicians.
The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust was rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission. The independent regulator of all health and social care services in England published its rating on Friday 21 October 2016, following announced and unannounced inspection visits to the Trust in April 2016.
For more information please visit: www.thewaltoncentre.nhs.uk or follow the Trust on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, Lower Lane, Fazakerley, Liverpool L9 7LJ
0151 525 3611
In April 2022, Jamie Hardesty and his wife Sammy went on an adventure holiday to North Wales. While on a solo hike on Mount Tryfan, Snowdonia, Jamie tried to climb down to a ledge and fell 30ft down the mountain, landing on his back.