Defying the odds after 23 hours crushed in a car
Legs crushed underneath the dashboard, 200m down an embankment and in a mobile phone blackspot – Harry Edwards was left to hope that someone would see the pole his car struck as he swerved off the road just days before Christmas in 2019.
Trailing a truck along a local road near Cape Clear, 30km south of Ballarat, some gravel spat up and struck his windscreen, causing Harry’s air bags to deploy.
Stunned by events, he lost control of the car as it swerved off road, cannoning into the pole before tumbling through a crossroad and down a gully.
The Skipton farmer tried to use his phone again and again, to no avail. But he didn’t lose hope. On some regional roads, passers-by can be infrequent and with Harry 200m below the road, no one was likely to see him.
Harry’s hope came from his knowledge that when locals notice a pole knocked down in country areas, they will often investigate.
It was not until 23 hours had passed when a friend and her son, travelling ‘the back way’ to Ballarat saw the damaged sign and raised the alarm.
The then 53-year-old was flown to The Alfred Emergency and Trauma Ward for resuscitation with broken ribs, damage to his kidney requiring dialysis and severe injuries to his right leg, requiring an amputation below the knee.
After spending time in the ICU, Harry was transferred to the Trauma Ward followed by a period of rehabilitation in Ballarat. His positive attitude never lost on those around him, including treating Emergency and Trauma Physician, Dr Helen Stergiou.
“Harry was one of those patients who made the work so enjoyable – every time we walked in to see him, he was smiling,” Dr Stergiou said.
The Alfred operates the largest and most active trauma service in Australasia.