Scots pensioner left with 'bone sticking out of arm' after horror fall

A Scots pensioner was left with a bone sticking out of her arm after a horror fall on a busy cycle path.

Elma Birrell was allegedly startled by an ‘inconsiderate’ cyclist which led to her breaking her arm on April 30 in West Lothian. She is now calling on those using public paths to be more thoughtful.

Paul Birrell, 71, detailed the painful experience that his wife Elma endured when she fell over and suffered a compound fracture in her arm.

The incident took place at around 8pm on Tuesday when the teacher was walking back towards Linlithgow from the Avon aqueduct with her friend Ann, reports Edinburgh Live.

At first, Elma thought she had broken her wrist, but after Paul and their son took her to St John’s Hospital in Livingston, it was revealed that her injury was far worse.

A nurse had found that she had suffered from a compound fracture that saw the bone in her arm break through the skin and cause bleeding.

Husband Paul said: “On Tuesday evening Elma was walking back towards Linlithgow from the Avon aqueduct with her friend Ann. At around 8pm a male cyclist suddenly rang his bell right behind them.

“Elma was on the canal side and got such a fright she stumbled and fell. The cyclist stopped briefly, perhaps not realising the damage he had caused.

“Elma thought she might have a broken wrist and Ann phoned me. My son and I drove out to Woodcockdale and walked about 250 metres along the canal and got Elma to her feet, before we walked her back to the car and then drove to St John's in Livingston."

“In A&E the sign said there was an hour and a half wait for triage and four and a half hours to see a doctor however we were seen by a nurse within 10 minutes.

"As soon as she rolled Elma's sleeve up they realised it was more serious than a broken wrist and was a compound fracture with the bone having broken the skin and had caused bleeding."

He continued: “Elma was x-rayed and plastered by midnight and transport was arranged to transfer us to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. I returned home about 1am.

“Elma had an operation on Wednesday afternoon, which lasted about four hours, having a plate and screws put in her forearm. My son and I visited and Elma was much improved and extremely grateful to the NHS for the treatment she received.

“The doctors wanted to keep her in for another night to monitor for infection so she will be discharged tomorrow (Friday).”

Paul often cycles along the canal path but says he is conscious of trying to give walkers as much notice as possible that he is about to pass.

He also hopes that those using the path can learn from this incident so that someone else does not suffer painful injuries in the future.

“We both use the canal a lot and in my opinion the vast majority of walkers, cyclists, joggers and dog walkers behave responsibly. “However there are a significant minority whose behaviour is less than perfect.

“Some cyclists do not use their bell to warn of approach or leave it until the last minute; some dog walkers have dogs running loose. Some joggers and walkers have earphones and cannot hear if a cyclist approaches.

“People need to be more considerate. Also a please and thank you would be appreciated.

“A few more prominent signs would help especially close to the major settlements. As for the offending cyclist, if he sees this then perhaps in future he will slow down and give more warning when passing walkers.”

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