Walk and die
After one daughter was involved in a car accident and left with a brain injury, Kelly Hallett thought she had been through a once in a lifetime journey.
In November 2013, the unthinkable happened all over again. This time it was an unprovoked assault on her eldest daughter.In November 2013, my eldest daughter was hurt. We have been here before. Less than three years ago, my middle daughter was hurt in a car accident. Hurt doesn’t really describe it. Both were critically hurt with no immediate way of knowing what the outcome would be. Both required life support and were in medically induced coma’s to give the doctors full control. I have alluded to my middle daughter's accident a few times over the course of my blog but have never yet written fully about it. They say that lightening doesn’t strike twice, but it does. There are several amazing doctors and surgeons at both St Mary’s Hospital in London and The Royal London Hospital that are the only reason that we still have our girls with us, and in one piece, and we thank these people and these facilities on a daily basis. I have decided to write about my eldest daughter's injuries as there is a very serious message and opportunity for other lives to be saved – simply by reading the story.
A call in the nightimeMy eldest daughter Holly, has a two year old daughter. She doesn’t go out very much as obviously, she has her little one to care for. Holly hadn’t planned to go into town on this particular night. My brother was looking after the little one and Holly was spending the evening at a friends. Late in the evening, Holly and her friend decided to go into town. The entered a particular club with no knowledge of the events that were to unfold. Several hours later, at 5.30am in the morning, there was a loud banging on our front door. Now, those of you with teenagers will know that they can have a habit of rocking up at all hours with friends – even after they have moved out!! So, on being woken by the door banging, we assumed it was Holly. It was the police. They had come to inform us that Holly had been assaulted earlier that evening and needed details for her. They explained that she was seriously hurt and was being transferred from our local hospital to St Mary’s hospital in London. As soon as they said where she was being transferred to I knew it must be a head injury. St Mary’s hospital is a major trauma hospital in London, with a speciality in Neurology. The police confirmed that she had suffered a serious head injury and offered to take us straight to the hospital. The police didn’t seem to have many more details than that. They had a duty to ensure that Holly’s daughter was safe and well and asked for the address of where she was staying. As I was finding the address one of the police women were outside on the radio. She came in and advised us that we had to get to the hospital immediately. Her words were ” you need to get dressed right now – we need to get you to the hospital – Holly’s situation is deteriorating.” Needless to say, we were dressed and out within minutes, being blue-lighted to the hospital.
On arrival, we were shown to the family waiting room. We have been here before. The little room with bereavement posters on the wall and tissues on the table. It’s when it becomes real, and you know that the news isn’t going to be good. A nurse came in and gave me Holly’s jewellery, explaining that the Doctor would be in shortly to see us.
I honestly thought that we were going to lose her. I just didn’t believe that we could get lucky a second time, with a second child."Kelly
The Doctor came very soon afterwards. He explained that soon after entering the club earlier that evening, Holly had been assaulted by being hit across the head with a bottle. Initially she appeared fine. The strike had caused a small but deep cut on her forehead and she had attended A&E for stitches. She had walked in and given all of her details etc, chatting quite happily with the doctors and nurses. He explained that whilst she had had a few drinks, she did not appear particularly drunk and whilst she had been taken to the hospital on advice of the police in an ambulance, was considered a voluntary patient. The Doctor explained that it is routine to keep anyone with a head injury under observation for an hour or two afterwards for observation. So initially all seemed straightforward.However, after being stitched up, Holly became more unwell. She remembers feeling strange and her head hurting. She remembers going back to the desk to tell them that she felt unwell. She remembers nothing after that point. But the Doctor informed us that whilst under observation, Holly became unwell. She started to get very sleepy, her speech was slurred and she was no longer able to answer the questions that she had been able to answer on admission to the hospital. When asked her date of birth, Holly had been talking about horses. The Doctors had realised that something was very wrong and immediately sought a CT scan of her brain. The scan showed a life threatening brain injury. Holly had been struck across the head with such force that her skull had been fractured. This in turn had caused a very large bleed into her brain. The pressure from the bleed was compressing her brain and she needed urgent specialist neurological care. Hence, her being transferred to a specialist hospital in London. Holly had already been put into a medically induced coma and onto life support so we could see her only briefly. The Doctor began to explain about the various tubes, staff and machines that would surround Holly until we explained that this was not the first time we had been in this situation with a child and were familiar with the equipment. The police had appointed us a police liaison officer who would blue-light us behind the ambulance into London. We already knew from our previous experience that this is normal practice when the outcome is unknown.