A 16 year old Liverpool girl who suffered life threatening injuries in a road accident is making a ‘miraculous’ recovery.
Emily Brownless was crossing the road near her home in Childwall when she was in a collision with a car. She suffered broken bones in her legs and pelvis, two fractured vertebraes in her back and bruising to her brain and her lung.
In total, Emily spent over three weeks in critical care units at Aintree University Hospital and The Walton Centre and was in a coma for 11 days. Her parents remained in hospital with her – either at her bedside, in hospital accommodation or in a visitors’ room.
“Several times we thought we were going to lose her; she is a little miracle,” said Emily’s mum, Nicky Brownless.
Parents Nicky and Gary Brownless paid tribute to the staff who treated Emily throughout her trauma treatment, at Aintree University Hospital and The Walton Centre – part of Cheshire and Merseyside’s Major Trauma Centre Collaborative, along with the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital.
“We were struck by the teams and by how well staff collaborated with each other across both hospitals. The teamwork displayed was very impressive,” said Gary Brownless.
Emily was taken by ambulance to Aintree University Hospital where she was treated by the specialist trauma team. She underwent scans and X-rays followed by surgery to insert metal rods in her right leg.
The following day, she was transferred to The Walton Centre’s Intensive Care Unit for an operation to insert an intracranial pressure monitor into Emily’s skull to measure the pressure on her brain caused by the severe bruising.
When she developed pneumonia she was moved back to Aintree’s Critical Care Unit for specialist chest treatment.
“We lived in the two hospitals for 18 days and there was one 48 hour stretch when we had no sleep because Emily was so dangerously ill,” said Gary.
“All the time, the staff were amazing, from the cleaners, ward clerks and porters through to the nurses, doctors and therapists, ward managers and volunteers. They always provided us with update with all the information we needed. They also gave us reassurance and advice about when we needed to go and rest. Their advice even extended to our own care requirements.
“One particular health care assistant in Aintree’s Critical Care took the trouble to wash Emily’s long hair while she was unconscious to stop it becoming matted and running the risk of it being cut off. The level of care and compassion she showed was amazing.
“Before Emily moved from Critical Care, the major trauma team visited her on a regular basis to get to know Emily and plan her transfer. Once Emily had recovered sufficiently and had had her tracheostomy valve removed she was transferred to the major trauma ward, where she was treated by nurses and therapists.
A couple of days before she was transferred to the rehab unit in Broadgreen, they took her there to see where she would be moving to.
Emily has been in Broadgreen’s specialist sub-acute rehabilitation unit, the Phoenix Unit, since 30 January undergoing physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, occupational therapy, dietician support and psychology. Her family have also been offered, and accepted, group psychology to help them deal with the trauma.
Emily has had a goal-setting meeting with the multi- functional team within the Broadgreen unit and her goal is to be able to walk and to go home before her 17th birthday in March.
“I can’t recall much about my stay in critical care, but the staff who have been treating me have been great,” said Emily.
Her mum added: “So many times we thought we were going to lose her; the staff kept trying to wake her up and then she caught pneumonia; it has been worse than hell. Then there came a day when she was awake and I felt I had given birth again; I just thought, thank God.”