Saturday 23 September 2017

'She longs to hold her baby' - young mother hurt in crash that killed her father

Abbie Finn recovering at her home in Ballyfermot in January with her son Arthur and partner Arthur after her father Martin was knocked down and killed while both were walking along the Newcastle Road in west Dublin.
Photo: Mark Condren
Abbie Finn recovering at her home in Ballyfermot in January with her son Arthur and partner Arthur after her father Martin was knocked down and killed while both were walking along the Newcastle Road in west Dublin. Photo: Mark Condren
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A young mum who was left with a broken neck after a road accident that killed her dad has undergone two further operations on her spine.

Abbie Finn (18) was walking with her father, Martin (60), on the dark Newcastle to Lucan Road in west Dublin when they were hit by an SUV on the night of January 17.

There is no footpath or street lights on that stretch of road.

Martin was killed in the impact and Abbie was flung up in the air and across the road after her dad selflessly pushed her aside before being hit.

Abbie was fitted with a 10lb metal halo-frame to stabilise her life-threatening injury.

It means she is unable to hold or cuddle her six-month-old son.

Martin Finn and daughter Abbie were walking on the Newcastle Road, west Dublin, when they were hit
Martin Finn and daughter Abbie were walking on the Newcastle Road, west Dublin, when they were hit

Three months after the accident, she is still wearing the bulky device that stops her moving her head and has had two operations on her neck.

If the outcome of the surgeries is successful, it is hoped she will regain some use of her left arm.

"She didn't have much use of her left arm because there was pressure on a nerve in her neck," said Abbie's mum, Carol.

"She had one surgery first to try and release it, but they had to go in a second time and shave some bone off her spine to try to fix it.

"She's now in the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire undergoing a programme so that she'll be able to hold and feed baby Arthur."

Abbie previously told the Herald that she could not hold her baby.

"I've no power in my left arm and I can't hold Arthur up, hug him or feed him," she said.

After the crash, Abbie appealed for footpaths and street lighting to be fast-tracked at the site of the tragedy to prevent further accidents.

At her father's funeral in Ballyfermot, she spoke of her love for her hero dad.

She said his last act was to push her to one side just before they were hit, saving her life.

She also sent a message of comfort from the altar of St Matthew's Church to the driver of the SUV, reassuring him that what happened was a tragic accident.

"We would like you to know we are praying for you and your family. We wish we could ease your pain," she said.

Carol said that looking after Arthur fills her time.

"We haven't really had time to think. Abbie is trying to get better, that's her focus, and we're both taking care of Arthur. We haven't really had the space to grieve properly," she said.

"Abbie misses her daddy, we all miss him. We're just focused on trying to get back to normal and getting Abbie better again."

"I remember feeling my dad's hand on my face and then flying through the air like doing a flip on a trampoline, and when I landed I thought I was beside dad because I could still feel his hand under my face," said Abbie.

"But he was on the other side of the road."

Abbie was face-down in the grass and wanted to be moved, but her mother kept her still.

"I did first-aid training years ago and something must have clicked. I just knew we couldn't move her," Carol said.

Abbie added: "The doctors told us that if I had been moved my spinal cord could have been affected and I could have been paralysed or died."

Herald

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