A road.cc reader has been in touch with their experience of the danger poor road surfaces can cause road users, in this case cyclists...
On January 2nd, while cycling home from the City to Twickenham, I encountered a pothole on Upper Richmond Road and attempted to avoid it. However, I ended up flying over the handlebars and landing on my head, causing severe pain and screaming.
I feared that something serious had occurred, such as a skull injury, and screamed for help. Passersby came to assist me and a doctor happened to be present and began to assess my condition. I attempted to sit up but my left arm was immobile and I realised it was injured. I was unable to determine the extent of my other injuries.
Someone called for an ambulance, however, due to the backlog it was estimated that it would take two to three hours for the ambulance to arrive. The doctor checked my spine and neck and determined that they were not injured, but the pain in my upper body was severe and I was unable to identify the source of the pain. He advised that due to the wet and cold conditions and the long wait for an ambulance, it would be best for me to try to get off the road. However, I was physically unable to move and scared about my condition, unsure of what to do next.
After about 15 minutes, I attempted to stand up with the help of others, but the pain was so intense that I was screaming. I still didn't know what was wrong with me. Across the road, there was a bike shop, and I was carried over there to warm up. I was in shock and couldn't believe what had happened.
The next day, we found out that the pothole had already been reported and filled. We were unsure of how the council had been informed but I remember one of the passersby saying that they had reported it a week earlier and couldn't believe it hadn't been fixed yet. It is possible that one of the passersby contacted them after my accident and reported an injury caused by the pothole, leading to it being fixed quickly.
I was given some strong painkillers and water. My wife was contacted and she decided to come and collect me instead of waiting for the ambulance to take me to the hospital. She arrived in 20 minutes and took me back home at 7:30.
My experience at the A&E department was extremely difficult. I had to wait for over 5 hours without receiving any attention from medical staff, which caused my wife and family to leave. I was in a wheelchair and had to navigate my way around the department while not knowing the extent of my injury.
During the night, I underwent several scans, during which I nearly passed out due to the severe pain. Unfortunately, there was no pain relief provided by the NHS and I was told that if I did not undergo the scans, my injury would not be treated properly. Despite feeling faint from the pain, I pushed through and eventually received a scan, after which a cast was put on my arm.
I was recently assessed and it was discovered that I had suffered multiple injuries, including broken ribs on my left side, a fracture in my elbow and damage to my neck. To ensure that my internal organs were not damaged, a CT scan was performed. The uncertainty of not knowing the extent of my injuries made the experience quite challenging
When the cast was put on my arm, I did not experience much pain relief. The medical staff did not inform me that they were going to attempt to reposition my bone. This caused me to experience the most excruciating pain of my life. After the cast was finally put on, about an hour later, I had to go back for another scan. The pain was so severe that I passed out during the procedure. It was a very difficult and traumatic experience.
I was later informed that my bone would never heal properly. To fix this, I had to undergo surgery on the weekend. After the surgery, I thought the worst was over, but soon after the doctors came back in and informed me that the cast had been applied incorrectly, so I had to go through another round of scans and have a new cast put on. This caused me to experience the same level of pain again and it was a very difficult and frustrating experience. I couldn't believe that I was going through this again and I was disappointed that I was not provided with adequate pain relief during my entire time in the hospital.
After the initial diagnosis, I had to wait several days before I could get the surgery on the weekend. Again, I was not provided with much pain relief, and the morphine that was given to me was not sufficient. My entire experience with the NHS was terrible, from the long wait times, to the lack of pain management. Even though I am now on the road to recovery, the whole experience has left me feeling scared and unsure about getting back on my bike. I hope that the situation in the NHS can improve soon, so that others don't have to go through a similar experience.
road.cc contacted the NHS Foundation Trust which runs the hospital the reader was treated at but has not received a reply.
The last thing we want this blog post to be is an attack on the hard work of healthcare professionals, especially during such difficult times, but it is hard to ignore the fact our reader's account makes for a worrying read.
Have you been treated in hospital for cycling-related injuries this winter? What was your experience?