Parents' joy at daughter's recovery

By Liz HearnshawA COUPLE who were told their daughter may not survive a horrific road accident have spoken of their joy at hearing her speak for the first time in months.

By Liz Hearnshaw

A COUPLE who were told their daughter may not survive a horrific road accident have spoken of their joy at hearing her speak for the first time in months.

Wendy and Simon Parkes said they were “absolutely ecstatic” at their daughter Deborah's progress since she moved to a rehabilitation centre three weeks ago, adding the 17-year-old had begun feeding herself and was able to hold a conversation.

Deborah suffered devastating head injuries, a fractured pelvis and smashed ankle following the accident five months ago - and her family were at one point told there was nothing more doctors could do for her.


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But following her remarkable progress over the past three weeks, Mr and Mrs Parkes now hope she may return home to Red Lodge, near Mildenhall, much earlier than first predicted by medics.

Mrs Parkes said: “The rehabilitation unit at Harrow has turned out to be a godsend. In the three weeks Deborah has been there, she has come on in leaps and bounds, and told us at the weekend that she wants to come home.

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“The tracheotomy was taken out the first week she was there and she started to talk more or less straight away in whispers.

“But we had a wonderful surprise last Friday when she was talking at a normal volume. We are all absolutely ecstatic.”

She added: “She really is doing well and is eating one proper food meal a day and, with the help of the speech therapist, is feeding herself.

“They are working her very hard at Harrow as it is intensive rehabilitation, but it has paid off tremendously.

“It was a godsend she survived, but she has now come back to us. Her sense of humour is still there and she is still our Deborah.”

Deborah suffered her terrible injuries when she was hurled through a brick wall following a collision with a van as she walked to work in Red Lodge in November.

She was left brain damaged and fighting for her life, with doctors even warning her distressed family that the teenager may not survive.

But her devoted parents, who travel to Middlesex every weekend to visit their daughter, said the future now looked much brighter.

It is even hoped Deborah may no longer need planned treatment at a specialist centre in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, once her care in Harrow has finished.

“It is absolutely brilliant and it is such a pleasure to go and visit her and have a proper conversation,” said Mrs Parkes.

“She is very bored and wants to come home, while her memory is very fragmented. That will all come together eventually.

“We are absolutely amazed with how well she has done so quickly, and Harrow has superb staff. She is doing so positively we are really starting to wonder if she will have to go to Sawbridgeworth. We certainly do not feel she will be away for the two years first predicted.”

Mrs Parkes said the sight in Deborah's left eye had been affected in the accident and she may now need to wear glasses.

But the family are hopeful a series of Botox injections in the teenager's left side, which she has not yet been able to move, will be successful, helping to relax her muscles and prevent them from spasming.

Mrs Parkes said: “She can feel you touching her left arm and leg, but she cannot move them as they cramp up. We just have to hope and pray the Botox injections work.

“The doctors do not seem overly positive about it and we don't yet know what will happen - but Deborah has surprised us all so far, and may well do again.”

liz.hearnshaw@eadt.co.uk

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