On January 18 2022, 13-year-old Lachlan and his best mate were having fun being kids in the school holidays when the unimaginable happened. During a bike ride to the local shops, Lachie was involved in an accident that would change his life forever.
As the green light flashed for the boys to cross the road, a car didn’t see them and went straight through, hitting Lachie and dragging him 500 metres down the road. With one hand, he tried banging the side of the vehicle to alert the driver while his legs were trapped under the passenger wheel.
Sadly, the driver didn’t realise, and Lachie’s body only got released when the car changed lanes.
Horrified witnesses rushed to help. Soon after, paramedics and an emergency doctor arrived, working fast to stem the bleeding from Lachie’s badly damaged right leg before rushing him to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
Photo credit: 7News
By the time Lachie arrived at the Emergency Department, the highly trained critical care team were there, ready and waiting to do all they could to save his life. Their priority was to assess the extent of his injuries and to clean his terrible leg wounds.
In a matter of hours, conversations about purchasing new school shoes and exercise books changed to concerns about brain injuries, internal bleeding, burns and an amputation.
Lachie’s parents, Melanie and Steve, were in total shock. As they waited anxiously for news, hospital social worker, Natasha approached the family and introduced herself. For hours, she didn’t leave their side, discussing their fears and helping them adjust to this unexpected trauma.
“My biggest question at the time was, ‘Is Lachie going to be okay?’. Although they couldn’t make any promises, Natasha offered us the reassurance that they were doing everything they could and would keep us informed,” remembers Melanie.
24-hours after the accident and his first surgery to clean his wounds, Lachie regained consciousness in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. Although his parents were relieved, the next few days that followed were some of the hardest.
“There was no way I was going to leave that hospital. I didn’t even want to leave his side in ICU but it got to a point where I was in pain from standing up for so long that I needed to go and lay down.”
It was one week after Lachlan’s accident, that his Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr David Drynan, confirmed the best option was to amputate his right leg and perform reconstructive surgery on the left.
“We didn’t know how Lachie was going to take it, but he coped really well and even said, ‘I’ve always wanted a bionic leg’. Dr Drynan had to manage his expectations but was wonderful and would always take the time to answer any new questions on his list,” recalls Melanie.
For quite some time following the amputation, Lachie was experiencing extreme pain.
It was thanks to the generous support of people like you, that Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation was able to help ensure his doctors and nurses had cutting-edge equipment at their fingertips to help relieve his pain, like smart infusion pumps.
This fleet of 1610 new, fully funded infusion pumps across both The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick helps deliver pain relief to kids like Lachlan and chemotherapy and hydration to others.
Today, Lachie has come a long way. He was recently fitted with his prosthetic leg and has blown everyone away with his progress. With the assistance of a walker, he’s even returned to the classroom to be with his friends. “He’s a very resilient young man, that’s for sure,” says Melanie.
Looking back on their three-month stay at the Hospital, Melanie says she couldn’t be more at peace with the support they’ve received throughout the whole process – from the emergency doctors at the scene to the nurses and of course, Natasha, their social worker.
“The whole social work side of things to the Hospital isn’t something I knew about, but I now believe is so valuable,” says Melanie.
“Having one person there to help organise appointments, paperwork and understand medical jargon and updates is so important.”
Although Lachie still has a long road ahead, the family are thrilled to be supporting Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation in City2Surf this year as a patient ambassador.
“We’re so grateful to have the opportunity to give-back to the Hospital. Our experience has been far beyond what I ever would have expected.”
For kids with limb or mobility differences like Lachie, completing City2Surf is a goal or dream. Register and join “Team SCHF” on Sunday 14 August 2022 to help ensure critically injured children have access to the best possible care, whenever and wherever they need it.
No child like Lachie should ever have to go through this, but those who do deserve our all.