Grateful Patient Returns to Northern General Critical Care Unit to See His Donation in Action

14th March 2024

A former patient has donated £10,803 to Sheffield Hospitals Charity to fund an arm and leg bike designed for rehabilitation following a catastrophic cycling accident in the Peak District.

In an extraordinary journey from near-death to profound gratitude, Richard Patton’s story is one of resilience and hope. On 4th September 2016, Richard, a dedicated sports enthusiast and father, met with a terrifying accident in Miller’s Dale, Peak District that would change his life forever.

While out riding the route for a cycling event on a summer’s morning, a car veering on the wrong side of the road collided with him at 40mph, catapulting him 20 meters from his bike. Richard was blue-lighted to the Northern General Hospital suffering life-threatening injuries including 35 rib fractures, 5 spinal fractures and severe injuries impacting his lungs and breathing. Richard was placed onto the Critical Care Unit. His survival was miraculous.

It was only on his birthday, 20th October, that Richard was finally able to breathe unaided, marking a pivotal moment in his recovery journey. He said, “I looked out of the window and saw that the leaves had turned a golden brown. It was then I realised autumn had come, and how much time had moved on since my accident…I’m a sports person and learning how to breathe properly felt so alien to me.”

Throughout his eight-week stay at the Northern General Hospital and subsequent treatments for related kidney problems, Richard's resilience shone brightly. His road to recovery was paved with relearning basic human functions – from swallowing to the very act of breathing. His journey was not just a physical one but a profound realisation of life's fragility and the preciousness of family.

Richard said, “I’ve seen the last 7 years. I’ve seen my kids grow up. It is so hard to verbalise how much it all matters to me.”  

Richard's determination and gratitude have culminated in a significant donation to Sheffield Hospitals Charity. His £10,803 gift has facilitated the purchase of a MOTOmed movement therapy device for the Critical Care Unit at the Northern General, offering a lifeline to patients striving to regain mobility and strength. The state-of-the-art equipment supports both arm and leg movement and even integrates interactive games to encourage patient engagement and recovery.

Richard recently returned to the Critical Care Unit to see the device he funded installed on the ward.

Reflecting on his journey, Richard shared, "The generosity and support from the physio team at NGH were unparalleled. They went above and beyond to aid my recovery and inspired me to give back to those who had supported me through my darkest hours. I am so grateful to be here and for something positive to have come from my accident."

Sam Dean, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist Critical Care commented, “It’s incredible to see the passion Richard has for helping others in their rehabilitation journey. I think his story will inspire lots of people. We’re so grateful to Richard and Sheffield Hospitals Charity and it was great to be able to show him how much of a difference this piece of equipment will make for our patients in the future.” 

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