Experiencing Road Trauma: A Firsthand Account

12 December 2016

Road Traum

Experiencing Road Trauma on a Personal Level

The phone call comes in. She’s had an accident. Feelings of horror, shock, fear. We don’t know her condition.

No, the road’s closed sorry. The police officer on guard lights up the morning in his hi-vis vest.

Helicopter hovers overhead.

Buckled metal and shattered glass. Air bags dangling and limp in the window openings like fallen parachutes.

It seems there are way too many fire trucks, police cars and ambulances lining the sides of the road.

Professionals at their job offering words of reassurance, understanding, displaying incredible calm and skill.

 

Experiencing road trauma first hand is a very dramatic and life changing experience. In August this year, one of our main office staff, Louella was unfortunate enough to be involved in a single car crash. As both a sister and work colleague, I experienced firsthand the impact road trauma can have, not only on the victim, but within the family, work and social life, and many other areas of our lives.

Louella’s accident occurred after she was heading home from the local beach, only 10 minutes from her home. The car slid out going round a corner, ending up on the other side of the road and after scraping a tree down the right side of the car it skidded on and slammed into a second tree head on.
Louella sustained injuries to her ribs, pelvis and sternum. A piece of glass also penetrated her left eye leaving her with significant loss of sight in one eye with numerous operations to follow. Due to her eye injury, she was airlifted immediately to the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Without the incredible safety of modern cars, and the speed and precise skill of our emergency services we could not expect that Louella would still be with us today.

I have to admit I really had no idea of all that was involved for victims following road trauma. One thing I have come to realise that road trauma is truly life changing. A car accident can change so many lives in one instant. Even when a patient returns home from hospital, this is only the start of their recovery back to health. Life becomes a race to keep up with endless medications, physiotherapy sessions, specialist and doctor return visits, referrals and ongoing check-ups, and of course the incredible and endless well wishes from family and friends. Care, understanding and rest are key factors on the road to recovery. New challenges arise everyday by not being able to do things the way you always have. Things you always took for granted such as navigating around your own home now become a major challenge. Equipment aids now become a necessity that you have to rely on. In Louella’s experience, she now finds herself in the position of having to use the same equipment she had daily assisted her own clients with!

In our line of business we deal with a number of TAC clients on a day to day basis. Louella’s experience has helped each one of us at Access to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the challenges experienced by road accident victims, their families and insurance agencies such as the TAC that handle the admin process. The facilities we have in place in Australia to cater for and support road accident victims is an incredible provision and blessing that we should value and appreciate more than we ever have.

After over three months of rest and recovery, Louella is slowly getting back into full time work again and resuming her role within the administration team at Access, of which we are all sincerely thankful for!

We would like to thank all our clients for being so understanding and patient with us during this testing time, while the ARE Team stretched themselves to pick up the threads and cover Louella’s duties.

Road trauma has taught me as a sister, colleague and supporter of a victim to never take anything for granted as you never know what is around the next corner.

Chelsea Way
Customer Service & DVA at Access Rehab

 

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