AN EARLS Court man is celebrating his remarkable recovery by taking on the Belfast Marathon and having a tattoo in honour of the west London hospital that saved his life.
Sam Kean is lucky to be alive after plunging 70ft to the ground after slipping on a friend's balcony on May 7 last year breaking his pelvis, heel, jaw, both elbows, three ribs and suffering a punctured lung.
The 21-year-old spent 33 days in intensive care in St Mary's Hospital, in Paddington, and needed emergency surgery on internal bleeding while a plastic tube was drilled into his skull to relieve pressure on his brain.
After being put in a coma for three weeks he was able to move out of the major trauma ward and begin his physiotherapy.
To show his gratitude to the hospital and its staff, he had 'if found please return to St Mary's' tattooed on his wrist and will run the Marathon on Monday - a year to the day of his accident - to raise money for Imperial College Healthcare and the intensive care unit.
He said: “I had the tattoo done to remind me of the brilliant care I had at St Mary’s and how they saved my life. It feels like a place always to go back to where I will be safe and secure.
“While I was in intensive care I was surrounded by family and friends, and my parents became very close to some of the doctors and nurses.
“When I had my accident, doctors thought I wouldn’t survive. I can’t thank the staff at St Mary’s enough for saving my life. The doctors tried to be positive but at one point my parents were told that I may be left partially paralysed.
“The physical injuries were difficult enough to contend with, but the uncertainty of how well I would recover and what I would be able to return to doing was harder.
"I was very active before the accident and could not contemplate not being the same again. I have been very fortunate. The treatment and care I have received at both hospitals has been amazing.”
Dr Andrew Hartle, intensive care unit consultant, said: “Sam almost died and his excellent recovery is an example of how the multi- disciplinary care in a major trauma centre saves lives. Surgeons, intensive care doctors, intensive care nurses and physiotherapists all played their part in helping Sam’s road to recovery.”
Sam has metal rods, which will never be removed, in his right leg, jaw and both elbows and was able to start walking again three months after his accident and has since returned to his job as an accounts assistant.
To complete his tough road he hopes to finish the Marathon in under four-and-a-half hours and raise more than £1,000 for charity.
“The Belfast Marathon has given me something very positive to channel my energies and recovery towards," he said. "It’s a way for me to put the past 12 months behind me. I’m looking forward to taking on the 26.2 miles.
"I feel it’s the least I can do in return for the care and support my family and I received.”
To sponsor Sam visit www.justgiving.com/sam-kean .