“You saved me & my unborn baby, you are angels”
After a family holiday, it was back to reality for Natalie Lander, now 31, as she headed to the office on June 13th 2011.
It was wet and miserable as the mum of one from Walsall drove to work.
Just after 8am the sales consultant skidded on a manhole cover and lost control. Her car spun sideways and a car travelling in the opposite direction hit her vehicle on the passenger side.
By coincidence, a family friend was travelling behind her. He called 999 and Midlands Air Ambulance was called to action. Just minutes later, the crew from Strensham and Cosford arrived.
Natalie was unconscious and trapped in her car. Her condition was critical and deteriorating fast. She had serious head and spinal injuries and suspected internal injuries. Natalie was anaesthetised as the roof of her car was cut off and she was immobilised with a neck collar and spinal board. She was airlifted to the specialist trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, as aircrew battled to save her.
Just days earlier she was relaxing in Egypt, now she was fighting for her life. Natalie broke her back and her pelvis was shattered. She suffered a severe brain injury and broke her neck in two places. Her vocal cords were also crushed from the impact.
Husband Marcus explains; “doctors told me to prepare for the worst.” Her injuries were so severe she was put in an induced coma to take the pressure off her body. She suffered a bleed and swelling on her brain and had key hole surgery.
Despite everything her body had been through, the biggest shock was still to come. When Natalie was involved in the near fatal accident, she had been fighting for two lives. Natalie was pregnant.
Natalie said; “I was scared. I kept thinking how would I cope? We already had a toddler, now I was in hospital. My mind was filled with worry. Doctors reassured me as best they could. They told me he was healthy but they couldn’t be 100% sure until he was born. We breathed a sigh of relief when he arrived.”
Baby Max was born on 21st February 2012 and weighed a healthy 8lbs 14 oz. Looking back, Natalie said; “It has been
the hardest year of my life. The coordination on my left side has been badly affected. Progress is slow but I have two kids and a husband to get better for.”
Despite her lasting injuries, Natalie is looking forward. Doctors have said the mum of two is recovering well but expect her recovery to take two years. Natalie has started driving again and plans to return to work when Alfie starts school.
She said; “My family, friends and child minder have been great but I am determined not to rely on other people for any longer than I have too.”
Natalie admits the changes to her home life have been the most difficult to come to terms with. Choking back tears she explains; “I spent four months away from Alfie while I was in rehab, I’ve missed so much while I’ve learned to walk, speak and eat again.”
She concludes; “I get frustrated but my children make the fight worthwhile and I can’t express how grateful I am. If I hadn’t of been airlifted I would have died. The crew are angels.”
Marcus added; “You saved my wife and our unborn baby. You gave Alfie his mum back, I can’t ever thank you enough.”
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