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Man who spent two months in a coma celebrates after passing his driving test

George Haslett was left seriously ill following a farming accident and has also had to learn how to learn to speak, walk and eat again.

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George Haslett back behind the wheel at the Foyle Arena with GP Referral Scheme Coaches Rosie O’Brien and Ron McGowan (Derry and Strabane Council/PA)

George Haslett back behind the wheel at the Foyle Arena with GP Referral Scheme Coaches Rosie O’Brien and Ron McGowan (Derry and Strabane Council/PA)

George Haslett back behind the wheel at the Foyle Arena with GP Referral Scheme Coaches Rosie O’Brien and Ron McGowan (Derry and Strabane Council/PA)

A Co Londonderry man who spent two months in a coma following a farming accident is celebrating after passing his driving test.

George Haslett originally passed his test in 1991, but had to relearn how to drive, as well as how to speak, walk and eat again following the accident.

He was overcome by slurry fumes at his Ballyhanedin Road farm, close to Claudy, in 2018 and spent two months in a coma at the Altnagelvin Hospital.

The 46-year-old described passing his driving test again as a “significant milestone” in his recovery.

He availed of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s GP Referral Scheme to help his recovery using the gym and swimming pool at the Foyle Arena.

“My recovery since the accident has been like coming back from being a baby where I’ve had to learn basic functions again, so to pass my test feels like going from a child to a man,” he said.

“I remember originally passing my test back in 1991, when I was 17, it actually felt better this time around because you don’t know what you’ve got until its gone.

“It is life changing for me and I feel I have my independence back, when you live a rural location having a driving licence is nearly a must and I don’t have to rely on lifts or public transport now.”

The GP Referral Scheme allows doctors, physios, social workers, occupational therapists and mental health workers to refer candidates onto the steps to health programme.

Medical conditions that can be referred to on the programme are diabetes type one and type two, pre-diabetes, BMI, muscular skeletal disorders, mild to moderate mental health conditions and respiratory conditions.

At the end of the eight week programme, reduced membership rates are available for the next four months to encourage clients to continue their progress.

PA


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