Injured in a road traffic collision: 2 April 2005
I do not believe that the hospital staff at that time did the right thing. I do not know much about first aid, but I do know that you cannot put a cast on a broken leg before administering proper treatment and effectively stopping the blood flow. But that is what they did to me. They were, in my view, unskilled.
Lillian Mworia, injured victim
2 April 2005 was the day my life changed completely. I had returned from church in Meru (Kenya’s central province) and was heading to my shop: I had a small business as a shopkeeper.
The shop was on the other side of the road from my house. As I was crossing the road, I was knocked down by a fast-moving car whose driver did not even hoot his horn to warn me. He dragged me under the car for some distance. I was really frightened. I felt I was sinking into the unknown. I remember thinking, “What would happen to my three children? Who would take care of them if I die?” My husband had died in 1996 after he was beaten by thugs. I seemed to be drifting in and out of consciousness.
The car driver drove off without even stopping to find out how badly injured I was. I think he was scared of the angry crowd that was approaching. The crowd finally caught up with him. He was an old man and the car belonged to someone else. Neither the driver nor the car owner came to see me in the hospital.
Villagers took me to Meru District Hospital. By then, I had regained consciousness. I do not know whether my being conscious was good, because what I saw shocked me so much that even today, I dare not imagine it is real. My leg was broken. I do not know much about first aid, but I do know that you cannot put a cast on a broken leg before administering proper treatment and effectively stopping the blood flow. But that is what the hospital staff did. As soon as this was done, blood started flowing from the top of the cast. I was losing a lot of blood very fast and this was scary. I could see bones sticking out of my right leg and they tried to work on my leg without following any meaningful procedure. They were, in my view, unskilled. What worried me more was that I knew I should have been feeling pain with all these broken bones and oozing blood, but there was no pain. I suspect that because of the wrong treatment that day I am still in the hospital two years later.
My brother was shocked when I told him what I had gone through. He transferred me to the Kenyatta National Hospital for specialized treatment. The doctors there found that my leg had been stitched with broken glass inside. Bits of glass were removed and a bone was also taken from my hip to help put together my injured leg. I now have metal on my right hand and leg and I am paralysed. It is a very sad condition. I have sleepless nights due to the pain I feel on my hand and leg.
I was later brought to the National Spinal Injury Hospital. My brother is following up with an insurance claim because the car was insured. I hope we will succeed because my eldest son is 18 and he is in college. His younger brother (16) is in secondary school and sister (13) is in primary school. I am incapacitated, so any money I get will be quite useful.
I think of my teenage children on their own and it breaks my heart. But I am grateful for family love. I am also grateful to my brother who pays my children’s fees and takes care of them along with his own family responsibilities. They all come to see me and those are my happiest moments these days.
Accidents are life-threatening and I want to advise all drivers and pedestrians to be careful to avoid getting in to a situation like mine.
Lillian Mworia, injured victim
In many countries, little consideration has been given to optimizing the training of medical and nursing staff for the care of injured patients. However, inexpensive but effective solutions do exist which would provide continuing education courses on trauma care for general practitioners and nurses in high-volume trauma hospitals.