'I fought to give my daughter a chance' - mum of woman who beat the odds and got her life back after horror crash
A VICTIM of a road accident given only a 25pc to 50pc chance of surviving a brain injury has beaten all the odds to lead a near-normal life.
At the end of Road Safety Week, Aisling Morris’s mother Doreen has urged parents never to give up on their children despite grim medical prognoses, and to ensure they always carry high-viz jackets.
It is almost 13 years since Aisling, then 18, was knocked down just three steps from her gate on the main Navan to Kentstown road in Co Meath.
She had just got off a bus on her way home from an art course in Dublin and was walking across the dark and drizzly road on October 25, 2005.
Doreen heard the bang as Aisling was thrown 50 feet into a ditch when she was hit by an oncoming motorist.
The mum had just walked out of the front door to meet her daughter when she heard the impact – so loud she thought it was a two-car collision. On running out to help, she saw her beloved girl lying unconscious.
“She was wearing a reflective band on her jacket but it was on the wrong arm,” Doreen said.
“She had worn it that morning but forgot to change it to the outside arm for the way home.
“If she had been wearing a reflective vest I am sure she would have been seen and avoided being hit.”
Aisling was taken to Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan then transferred to Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital where she was given just a 25pc to 50pc chance of surviving the night.
“She had traumatic head injuries and I remember thinking she’d be better off if she had broken every bone in her body instead of a brain injury,” Doreen said.
“Her limbs went spastic and curled up so badly she had to wear splints and have medical intervention over many months to help them straighten out.”
Aisling spent five weeks in a coma before being moved into a high-dependency unit for five months.
The family almost lost her for a second time when she developed pneumonia and had to have a second tracheotomy when the first tube collapsed.
“They wanted to send her to a nursing home as the rehabilitation unit in Dun Laoghaire didn’t think she’d be able to respond to the treatments.
“But I fought and fought to give my daughter a chance.
“Aisling couldn’t walk or talk, was in adult diapers and being tube fed up to the time she entered Dun Laoghaire.
“I was driving 100 miles a day to and from the unit as there were times when Aisling would only eat and do her treatments when I was there,” Doreen added.
“We took her home after five months in rehab, still fairly dependent on her wheelchair.
“With a lot of hard work and persistence from her sister Grainne, her dad Jeffrey, myself, her friends, our GP Mary Randles and, of course, Aisling herself, she could stand with the help of a walker and eventually then walk with a stick.”
The family moved to Navan three years ago to give Aisling more independence.
“We were living in the country and Aisling can never drive because of her poor memory,” Doreen said. “Moving to Navan was a weight off my shoulders.
“Aisling has local and independent access to her doctor, dentist, hospital, chemist, post office and bank, as well as the shops and eateries.
“She can even get on a bus herself to meet her boyfriend in Dunshaughlin. She has a life again.”