Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland teenager suffers brain injury in crash during US 'dream holiday'

Karmen Curley suffered a number of injuries.
Karmen Curley suffered a number of injuries.
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

A Northern Ireland teenager has suffered horrific injuries after crashing an electric scooter while on holiday in America.

Karmen Curley, from Newtownabbey, travelled to the US last week to visit her sister Sian who was studying at Southern Connecticut State University.

The pair had planned the "trip of a lifetime" around the west coast of California for two weeks with Sian's university friends before returning home.

However, disaster struck just a few days into the trip when the group decided to rent electric scooters during a day out in Los Angeles.

Karmen hit a pothole while riding the scooter and was thrown over the front of the vehicle.

After being rushed to hospital the 18-year-old lay unconscious for over eight hours in intensive care and was diagnosed with a bleed on the brain.

She also suffered a number of broken bones including a broken collarbone, nose and eye orbital bone which will require surgery.

"I thought it was something minor, but as I approached I quickly realised that something was very wrong. Karmen was lying unconscious and was losing serious amounts of blood, an ambulance was called to the scene," Sian said.

The accident happened last Tuesday, May 28 and Karmen has remained in hospital since the accident.

Sian said that as Karmen did not take out travel insurance before the trip her treatment is costing $15,000 per day due to the seriousness of her injuries.

Karmen Curley.
Karmen Curley.

She has launched a gofundme page to help the family with the medical bills.

Sian said the family were still dealing with the death of their mum last year and the costs associated with her funeral and had no idea how they were going to pay the mounting medical bills, which soared to over $80,000 after just a few days.

However, Sian did say that Karmen had begun to show signs of recovery and the bleeding on the brain had stopped.

"Karmen is doing much better and is making improvements everyday, although this morning she is suffering really bad pain in her head which she has been experiencing every morning for several hours before it shifts." she said.

The sisters are hoping to return home next week if Karmen continues progressing.

Karmen had previously attended Hazelwood Integrated College in north Belfast and has been accepted to attend art college this September.

Sian appealed to anyone travelling on holiday to ensure they take out medical insurance to stop the same thing happening to them.

"I would like to raise awareness about how important it is to get travel insurance and if you don’t know how to get it set up reach out to family/friends," Sian said.

"I would like to add about just how dangerous those push electric scooters are, they are easily rented everywhere in Los Angeles with no helmet required."

If you would like to donate to Karmen's gofundme visit the website here.

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