Belfast Telegraph

Brave Niamh leaves hospital after horror balcony fall

Niamh McGeoghegan is making progress after her accident in Spain
Niamh McGeoghegan is making progress after her accident in Spain
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

A Northern Ireland teenager who was left paralysed after falling from a balcony in Spain has been discharged from hospital after four months of treatment.

Niamh McGeoghegan (18) suffered multiple injuries when she fell at a friend's 18th birthday party in the early hours of St Patrick's Day in Benalmadena.

Her devastating injuries included three fractures to her skull, swelling on her brain, fractured ribs, a punctured lung and shattered vertebrae, which severed her spinal cord.

Her injuries left her paralysed from the waist down.

Her mother Claire, speaking to the Irish News, said her daughter was "fighting back". "She gets very down about it, but I tell her she is truly amazing," she said.

A new picture released six months on from the terrible accident shows a smiling Niamh in hospital as she continues her recovery.

Niamh, along with mum Claire (47) and dad Damien (49), moved from Co Down to Spain four years ago.

Following the accident, doctor's told Niamh's family she had suffered "life-changing injuries".

Her mother said that while she had been released from hospital, she still had a long way to go in her recovery.

"Niamh was discharged on July 17 and is now under the care of the Costa Del Sol hospital," Mrs McGeoghegan said.

"She has physio three times a week, but we had to apply for rehab for her in Seville, which we are still waiting on.

"She still needs proper rehab and I imagine initially she will have to stay in Seville. She is getting stronger day by day, so hopefully this rehab will come soon and we can get the next stage under way.

"Occasionally, she can move her toes. The physio says her right leg is stronger than her left and she has strength there, so we need her to be able to get the right treatment so she can build on that progress."

The family have moved to a ground floor apartment so Niamh can have wheelchair access following her discharge from hospital.

Mrs McGeoghegan said that despite her progress, Niamh sometimes gets "very down" about her recovery.

"I say, 'Five months ago you were almost dead, but your body is fighting back'," she said.

"We've been told by doctors it takes at least three years for a body to get over a traumatic spinal ordeal that she has went through.

"Sometimes we notice memory loss, she comes across younger at times, like 13 or 14 rather than an 18-year-old.

"But compared to how ill she was and the damage to her brain, it's amazing how far she's come on.

"She's bound to have good days and bad days, but she is determined that she's going to get better. She's hoping to do some online courses.

"She'd like to do business. I think that would give her something to focus on.

"It's been a massive learning curve, especially for Niamh, as she's had to deal with so much.

"But she's a brave girl and she's determined. She wants to get better and I know she can do it."

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