Family's gratitude to surgeon who saved life of crash victim
Just over a year ago, Graham McCubbin's parents were told that their 24-year-old son might not wake up from the induced coma into which he was put following a car crash.
But the IT worker went on to make a full recovery in record time, and has now had the chance to thank the team who made that possible.
He said: "I am extremely lucky to have no after-effects from my accident. I have to remind myself that it was not that long ago that both my legs were broken."
Mr McCubbin, from Bradford on Avon, was flown to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol and put into a coma after his vehicle collided with a pick-up truck.
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He suffered multiple injuries to his arms and legs and a blood clot on his brain.
The surgeon awaiting his arrival was Mike Kelly, who has just received an NHS Heroes award in a scheme run by the Department of Health for the life-saving work he performed in the 11-hour operation which followed.
Mr McCubbin's limbs were plated and pinned, and he was put into a coma for 12 weeks to allow time for them to heal.
Leading the orthopaedics trauma team, it was Mr Kelly who had to tell his parents that although their son was lucky to be alive, it was likely that he would not walk again for a year. To his surprise, Mr McCubbin took his first few steps with a pulpit frame after only four weeks.
Today, he is fully recovered.
He said: "I can stand up, I can walk around. It is unbelievable when you think that they predicted I wouldn't be able to do those things until now.
"It is a true testament to how good Mr Kelly and his surgeons are that they could fix my legs in a way which meant I could do my physio."
He added: "More than anything else, nominating him for this award was my way to thank him for what he does, on behalf of all his patients.
"Some people say that because surgeons get paid well, what they do is not selfless. But the way he gives his time to help others, and works to help others, I think is selfless and deserves recognition."
Mr Kelly – one of 140 heroes nominated at the North Bristol NHS Trust – could not accept his award in person as he was in surgery.
He later said: "I am merely part of an amazing team at Frenchay. You can do nothing unless the people around you know what they are doing.
"Graham's recovery was remarkable. Surgery was tricky but that's part and parcel of the job – it's because he listened and did what he was supposed to do that he recovered so well."
For Mr McCubbin's family, who also nominated Mr Kelly, it is a small token of appreciation for saving their loved one's life.
His brother, Ali, 39, said: "Without the hard work and intelligence of this individual, Graham simply would not be with us. We cannot thank you enough."