Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland backpacker who lost a leg in moped crash vows he’ll walk within a month

By Victoria Leonard

A Carrickfergus man whose leg was amputated after a horrific motorbike crash in Thailand is back home - and aiming to walk on his own within the next month.

Ross Davidson (23) almost lost his life and had to have his right leg amputated above the knee after the accident in December.

The former Carrickfergus Grammar pupil had spent two months backpacking around Thailand when he crashed in Pai, in the north of the country.

His family believe that he hit a pothole and was thrown down the road while riding a moped-style bike.

Ross's parents, Desna (48) and Andrew (48), flew out to Thailand to be by his bedside, but his leg had already been amputated by the time they arrived.

He initially underwent an amputation at Chiang Mai's Nakornping Hospital, but a virulent infection meant a further operation was required in Bangkok.

"When he got to Bangkok the infection was so bad that the surgeon there amputated his leg again," Andrew said.

"The first amputation was above the knee, but after the second one he only has half what he would have had between the knee and hip.

"He could have lost his life if they hadn't done it, the infection was so strong. When we spoke to him we told him that he could live without the leg, but we couldn't live without him.

"A surgeon we know told him that if the sepsis had got into his abdomen he would have been dead."

Ross was later airlifted home, and arrived back in Belfast on January 12. He was immediately rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where he spent 10 days in recovery.

"It has been devastating for him, but he is a positive boy," Andrew said. "He didn't know how bad it was when the infection took hold and spread to the rest of his body.

"He lost four stone and he still gets tired easily, but he is very lucky. The care he got in the Royal was fantastic, and it was such a relief to get him home."

Ross is now in a wheelchair and has also started physiotherapy. Next week will mark a milestone in his recovery when he attends his first appointment for a prosthetic limb at Musgrave Park Hospital.

A JustGiving page set up to cover Ross' rehabilitation and medical costs has raised almost £23,000.

"We hope he will be walking within the month. We are hoping to use some of the money raised by the local community to cover Ross' medical costs to buy a state-of-the-art prosthetic limb," Andrew said.

"He is only 23 and he has a full life ahead of him and wants to be able to run and cycle and swim.

"The latest prosthetic technology could cost between £20,000-£40,000 and we are so grateful that the community support could help us to get this."

Andrew said that he is surprised by how well Ross is coping.

"It is inspiring," he said.

Ross said he considers himself "the luckiest person ever".

"I'm grateful that I'm able to make plans for the future. I could have been dead," he said.

"Things are going to take a bit longer, but I'm taking it as time to do research, to up-skill myself and to get better.

"I'm looking at doing a course in tailoring and fashion design, as I would love to be a clothing designer. I've also been asked to do a bit of modelling. I had done some before, and there are agencies which are specifically for amputees.

"My parents have been a massive support through this - they are supermum and superdad!

"We are still fundraising and hopefully with the right prosthetic leg I will be able to run, climb and do all the things I had been planning to do.

"It will mean I am able to lead a normal life."

Belfast Telegraph

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