An 11-year-old Fife boy was due to get stitches out today following a freak accident the like of which had never been seen by emergency crews and hospital staff who came to his aid.
Duncan Hughes was impaled on his bike when out playing with his cousin in Anstruther. The brake lever was driven its full length into his right leg, narrowly missing the artery.
Amazingly, Duncan did not even need an overnight stay in Ninewells Hospital. The lever was pulled out, and doctors established no more serious damage had been done. Duncan was then stitched up and allowed home.
“He was very, very lucky,” said mum Tanya Johnstone. “It only punctured the fatty layer. You could see the brake handle going all the way under the skin.”
She said firefighters from St Monans spent around half an hour freeing her son from his bike, while leaving the brake lever in situ until he reached the accident and emergency department at Ninewells.
“I know we appreciate what the emergency crews do but it isn’t until you actually need them that you really, really appreciate what they do,” said Mrs Johnstone.
“They were absolutely wonderful the way they kept Duncan distracted and kept him going while they were trying to separate him from the bike.”
The accident happened while Duncan and cousin Hughes Gillan (13) were cycling near Anstruther Town Hall on April 30. Hughes’ foot slipped off the pedal and he swerved and crashed in to Duncan. The 11-year-old wobbled and ended up lying on his left hip, with the bike between his legs and brake lever speared through his right thigh.
“It was just one of those freak accidents,” added Mrs Johnstone. “Hughes was absolutely brilliant. He stayed calm and he kept Duncan calm and had the sense not to try and move him or pull the brake handle out.”
The family are hoping they can track down a mystery woman who came to Duncan’s aid as he lay in the street.
“She phoned for the ambulance,” said Mrs Johnstone, who added that the woman had stayed and tried to make her son comfortable until emergency crews arrived. “We are trying to find out who she is because we have still got her car seat.
“She disappeared once the fire engine arrived and we never got a chance to thank her.”
The car seat was used to help make Duncan more comfortable as firefighters worked to free him from the bike.
“The car seat and a card are in my mum’s shop in Anstruther in the hope she will come back to the shop,” said Mrs Johnstone, adding that the passer-by knew that her mother had a health food store in the town.
Duncan’s relieved mother said the P7 pupil at Anstruther Primary School was doing fine and was going to the surgery to have his stitches removed.
“He can’t wait to get the dressing off so he can show everybody his scar. The paramedics on the ambulance and the hospital staff said they had not seen anything like that before.”
Duncan’s dad David, who works offshore, is also expected to see him for the first time since the accident on Thursday.