Cabinet minister Michael Gove has paid tribute to “wonderful” NHS staff who treated his son after a horrific Christmas Eve accident.
Fourteen-year-old Will was badly injured when he crashed through plate-glass French windows at the family home in London after tripping over the Christmas tree.
Mr Gove’s wife, newspaper columnist Sarah Vine, described how Will was rushed to A&E and spent seven hours having cuts to his shoulder and arm stitched up.
She rushed back home after being called by her son while out doing last-minute Christmas shopping, and arrived to find their blood-spattered home looking like a scene from a Quentin Tarantino film.
Ms Vine answered a mobile phone call in the supermarket to hear a “howl of anguish” from her son. When he switched to video calling, she saw “a white-faced child with a huge gash on his shoulder about 10 centimetres long and deep enough so you could see the bone and tissues”.
Writing in the Daily Mail, she said: “On the same arm, a strip of flesh was hanging, like something out of a horror movie.”
After running home in 10 minutes, she found her son shaking, with blood-soaked kitchen towels wrapped around his arm.
“His lips were blue, and the hall was looking distinctly Quentin Tarantino,” she said. “Both French door windowpanes were jagged, gaping holes. Carpet, presents, tree were all covered in a fine spattering of blood.”
The environment secretary arrived back home – “gasping for air having sprinted back from the Tube station” – as an ambulance crew prepared to take Will to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
Once in the hospital, Ms Vine said their son was “stitched up a treat” by doctors, who included consultant surgeon Edward Ibrahim.
The teenager emerged that evening “excited at the prospect of some thrilling scars with which to wow the girls”.
By the next morning, he was feeling well enough to wake his parents early to watch him open his presents like any other Christmas Day.
Ms Vine said the episode had left her haunted by the fragility of life and grateful for “my great good fortune in life”.
“Had he fallen an inch to the side either way, he could easily have severed a ligament or, much worse, an artery,” she said. “Or if had I missed his call — as I often do — I might not have got home in time.
“Had Will’s guardian angel not been paying close attention this Christmas Eve, I could have been facing a very different Christmas from the one I’ve just enjoyed.”
Mr Gove thanked the staff who treated his son in a tweet: “Just wanted to thank wonderful team at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital for their kindness and professionalism this Christmas – especially the superb trauma surgeon Mr Ibrahim – we are in your debt.”