Hospital 'told paralysed teen girl to use leisure centre when she needed to wash'
Published 27/10/2015 | 08:20
The family of a teenager left paralysed after a horrific car crash on Mother's Day have claimed she was told in the hospital that she would have to wash in her local leisure centre.
Anastassiya was left fighting for her life when the car she was in overturned on the Magherknock Road as she came home to give her mother a present on March 15.
Miraculously, the then 16-year-old from Lisburn survived, but with multiple broken vertebrae, a neck broken in three places, 12 broken ribs that pierced her lungs, and bleeding on the brain.
After six weeks in a coma, her mum, Yulyia Philips, stepfather Paul Philips and brothers Sergey (21) and Andre (5), were delighted when the fun-loving student woke up, but they knew life would never be the same.
Anastassiya was studying business administration at Belfast Metropolitan College before the accident, and she loved swimming and trampolining. Now she is paralysed from the breast bone down and has to use a wheelchair.
She left hospital on June 29, just two days before her 17th birthday, but her family quickly realised they did not have any of the equipment needed to help with her injuries.
Her stepfather explained: "It appeared to us as if there was nothing planned. We didn't have anything apart from a bed we bought her and a borrowed wheelchair."
The family also claim that when they asked how they would wash Anastassiya, they were told that they should take her to the local leisure centre and wash her there.
They also say they were told she would not need a hospital bed, so they bought an orthopaedic bed. But as Anastassiya only has use of her arms, she needed a bed with sides to allow her to pull herself up.
Around a month ago, she was provided with a modern hospital bed, but the release mechanism to move the sides is on the floor, meaning Anastassiya cannot move them herself.
Paul said: "If there was a fire or an emergency, she couldn't get out of bed herself. It's a real worry."
Anastassiya is now confined to just two rooms in the family's three-storey home. Her bed has been placed in the living room, and she has just one metre of space between it and the sofa.
She said: "I have no privacy in here and there isn't enough space. My teachers said I could finish my coursework at home, but there's nowhere for me to study.
"There's no space for a desk or a computer, so my education is on hold too."
Helm Housing, who own the property, installed a temporary shower in the downstairs toilet several weeks after Anastassiya arrived home, but due to a lack of space, she must be undressed in the living room and wheeled through the kitchen naked.
"It's embarrassing for her - she's still a teenage girl," Paul said.
The family were told it would be at least another year before adaptations to their property could be completed.
Yulyia said: "It's very difficult psychologically. We have no home any more."
The family was offered a bungalow nearby, but they say they turned the offer down because they could not afford to move and they felt it was not big enough for a family of five.
A spokesperson for Helm Housing told this paper: "Helm Housing have been proactive in assisting this family since the accident earlier this year.
"At a meeting on July 6, it was agreed that we would install a temporary shower, and this work was completed on August 7.
"Working with the family and the occupational therapist, further plans were drawn up for renovations to an existing bungalow nearby, which could have been completed within three months. The family themselves decided that they did not wish to proceed with a move to that bungalow.
"We remain committed to enabling the family to stay in their current accommodation and the construction of the extension within the time specified in the Department for Social Development's guidelines."
A spokesperson for the South Eastern HSC Trust added: "The trust has been in regular and extensive contact with Anastassiya and her family regarding her needs and how they are being met. The process continues."
Despite the problems, the family believe that Anastassiya can walk again.
They are hoping to raise more than £50,000 to allow her to travel to the USA for three months to have revolutionary stem cell treatment.
Anastassiya said: "I will never accept this condition. I will never give up. This is the start of my journey to a new life."
For more information on fundraising for Anastassiya, visit https://www.facebook.com/Anastassiyas-Recovery-703124783153484/, or to donate to the fund, visit https://www.gofundme.com/k73sux3s