Motorcyclist Mark McCourt broke his pelvis, leg, knee, ribs and vertebrate, and damaged internal organs, after a car pulled out at a junction and hit his bike.
Mark, who was riding a few moments behind his fiancée Maria Kajda, only had seconds to react when the car pulled out into his path. Despite trying to steer around the car, the car hit him, throwing him off his bike, over the bonnet and skidding along the road. As Mark lay conscious face down in the road trying to process what had happened, to his horror the car continued to move in his direction and ran over his midriff, crushing his pelvic area and the force flipping him onto his back.
Mark, 39, of South Shields, said: “I was riding along and could see a white car at a junction ahead of me. I had right of way, but could suddenly see it started moving out. All I was thinking was please don’t hit me. I had about 15 metres to react. The front of the car hit the bike, I hit the bonnet and continued moving down the road.
“I felt the hard hit on my left side and was awake, when the front and rear left wheels of the car rolled over my pelvis. I don’t think the driver realised they had run over me and thought I was where my bike was. I was shouting in pain and tried to get up but couldn’t move.”
Mark was air lifted to the Major Trauma Centre at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, where specialist medical staff operated on him. He had broken his pelvis, left leg, knee, ribs and fractured vertebrate, as well as damaged internal organs, including his urethra, which is the tube that allows urine to pass out of the body. Mark had multiple operations, including emergency surgery two days into his hospital stay when his chest and neck swelled up, causing him difficulty breathing. This was caused by surgical emphysema as a result of the trauma.
Mark was left temporary paralysed by the incident and left hospital after nearly four weeks, once he could sit out of bed. He had to stay in a medical bed in his living room and use a wheelchair commode to go to the toilet. Fortunately his fiancée Maria – a teacher – was given two months leave to care for him. During the summer they also set up a make-shift shower in the garden with a pop-up tent and battery powered shower.
Mark added: “I am so lucky that I had the support around me. My fiancée was amazing as I couldn’t get out of bed on my own. She had to help me go to the toilet and wash. If I had been single, I would have had to live with my parents and get my mum to do this, which you don’t expect when you’re in your thirties.
“When things are taken away from you, you appreciate the little things like a shower and cleaning your own teeth. I remember feeling water drip down my face for the first time and it felt like a massive deal.”
It took Mark 12 weeks before he was able to put weight on his feet and walk for the first time, which was frustrating for someone who had been very fit and active. Now, a year later, Mark has had seven operations and is receiving specialist treatment in London for his damaged bladder and urethra. He is undergoing physio for his pelvic area and walks with a limp due to weakness in his left leg.
Mark said: “It’s been a long journey and I’m still not at the end of it yet. The infections and setbacks get you down. When people look at me now, compared to a year ago, they’re amazed at the progress I have made. But although the scars and bruising have gone and I’m back walking, my life still isn’t the same.
“I still have difficulty going to the toilet. I’m waiting for reconstruction work on my bladder and urethra and have nerve damage in my pelvic area. People also don’t see the psychological impact something like this has. I still have night terrors about it and suffered PTSD, which I sought help for.”
Mark, a former marine engineer who spent most of his life working on oil tankers, was about to start his ‘dream job’ as an ROV pilot (operating a submersible craft) two days after the crash. Due to his injuries and risk of bleeding, he’s been told he won’t be able to work at sea again as the remote places he would work wouldn’t have the medical equipment or urgent access needed should the worst happen.
The driver of the car later pleaded guilty to causing injury by driving without due care and attention at Peterlee Magistrates Court on 10 September 2021 and was given five points, £100 fine and ordered to pay £100 fees.
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