Cumbernauld dad who lost leg in holiday quad bike horror now helping others

Simon, from Cumbernauld, marked the amputation as the beginning of a new chapter, motivated by a desire to help others.
-Credit: (Image: PA)

A Lanarkshire man who lost a leg after a quad bike accident on holiday has told how having an amputation helped him get his life back.

Simon Hall, 48, was a passenger on a quad bike which was rapidly going downhill, and he put his own life in danger rather than risking the driver's by putting his foot out to try and slow the vehicle.

The accident happened during a family holiday in Fort William in the Highlands in July 2012. The father-of-three, from Cumbernauld in North Lanarkshire, was airlifted to Glasgow Royal Infirmary and surgeons managed to save his left leg.

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However he suffered debilitating pain for years afterwards and said it was “the best decision I’ve made” to have the leg amputated in December 2015. Mr Hall had to give up his work as a pastry chef, but he now volunteers to help amputees at University Hospital Hairmyres in East Kilbride.

Mr Hall recalled how after the amputation he was able to get up and make his way to the bathroom independently, and was allowed home a day-and-a-half later on Christmas Eve – defying medics’ predictions that he would be an impatient over the festive season.

Simon Hall was a passenger on a quad bike which was rapidly going downhill.
Simon Hall was a passenger on a quad bike which was rapidly going downhill. -Credit:PA

Speaking about the accident, Mr Hall said: “I was on a quad bike and it was going down a hill too fast. I was the passenger, and I put my foot down, which I’m not supposed to do, but the guy wasn’t braking in time. So I took the decision that I’d rather get hurt than two of us get hurt.

“My foot got stuck and I had to pull out between the rock and the quad bike. I felt my leg snap and it was flapping and I thought I’d lost my leg then.

“I got airlifted to Glasgow, where they did an operation and managed to save my leg. But after a while, there was something not right. It was a condition called chronic regional pain syndrome, and my leg was starting going black.

“I couldn’t put any covers on it or anything over it. It was just horrendous pain. Thankfully, I got a surgeon who knew what it was and made a decision that they would amputate my leg. It’s the best decision I’ve made.

“It wasn’t a hard decision to make because of the pain I was in, and I had no life, I couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t go anywhere.

“I had my operation in the December and was told I would be in over Christmas. I woke up after my operation needing the toilet. I got up straight away with my sticks and went straight the toilet. There were two other people in the ward shouting, ‘What are you doing? You’ve just lost your leg!’

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“I was walking up and down the ward that whole day because I wanted home and actually got out on the 24th. I think I’m the quickest ever person to get an amputation and be out home within a day and a half. I got home for Christmas.”

Mr Hall, who now has a prosthetic leg, said he has inspired others to have the confidence to rebuild their lives by losing a limb, and some patients he talks to are completely bedbound.

He began volunteering at the vascular ward with amputee charity Finding Your Feet, and said being able to help others “is the best feeling”.

Mr Hall said: “I got to know the physios and asked one of them if there was a volunteer role where I could come in and just to talk to patients.

“My heart goes out to folk who don’t have visitors. By coming in and spending five minutes with them, I can make someone’s day. Some can’t get up at all, some can only get up for a day, once a week. Just the time you spend, a couple of minutes listening, maybe getting stuff off their chest, it does help them.

“Being an amputee, I can let them know what the journey is like. If they’ve got any questions, they can ask me. There have been patients who have not had their amputation yet and they’ve asked to speak to me just for advice.

“I tell them my experiences and listen to what they’re saying. Every time they decided to go for it, because life’s too short. If you’re in pain, it destroys your life. I’m happy if my advice helps them make the right decision for themselves.

“It’s just being human – being there for somebody, to listen. If I can help somebody, it’s the best feeling.”

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