March man recovering after ski accident

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A WELL-known March man was left fighting for life after a skiing accident in the Austrian Alps.

David Lockwood (72) suffered six smashed ribs and a partially collapsed lung after smashing into a building on the piste when he lost control on a bend as he skied down a mountain in the resort of Niederau.

He had to be air-lifted to hospital at nearby Kufstein where he was admitted to the intensive care unit while his son, also called David waited at the hospital for news.

The accident happened on Mr Lockwood’s last full-day of skiing during his week long ski break with David and a group of friends on Friday March 4.

His daughter, Caroline Williams, also of March, said that at first her father, who has been skiing for more than 20 years, appeared to be doing well and he even told David to fly home as planned the following day.

“We kept in touch with dad by phone and he seemed to be doing well and we were getting regular updates from the hospital.

“Then on the Tuesday after the accident he said he had to have a little operation to drain some fluid from his lung.

“But it turned into a major operation, one of the broken ribs had twisted and punctured his lung and I decided then to fly out to be with him,” said Caroline.

“By the I got there on Wednesday he was up and sitting in a chair in the intensive care ward and he seemed fine.

“He also appeared fine on Thursday morning and they were planning to transfer him to a general ward. He was still being monitored but when I went to visit on Friday he didn’t look well and he was struggling with his breathing so I alerted the nurses.

“He was sent for an MRI scan and they discovered the rib had moved again and again punctured the lung and this time it was really serious and they were unsure he would even make it through the night. I phoned my brother and told him he had better come because it wasn’t looking good.

“Dad was ventilated and sedated until the Monday when they gradually started to reduce the sedation and since then he has been making a good recovery.

“David has stayed with him They are hoping he will be well enough to fly home today (Wednesday). He will probably need some follow up medical treatment once he’s home,” said Caroline.

She said her dad is unlike most 72-year-olds. He is extremely fit and still works part-time as a fitness instructor at the George Campbell Leisure Centre.

“I’m sure that his level of fitness before the accident helped him recover. He was so lucky the accident could have been so much worse.

“Dad is a good skier but he just lost control on the bend because the snow had become a bit mushy.

“Thankfully he is now making a good recovery and we’re hoping he will be home today.

“The care he was given at the hospital was absolutely brilliant. It is a fantastic hospital and they couldn’t have looked after him any better,” said Caroline.

Fortunately, despite having problems getting holiday insurance, Mr Lockwood was insured which is just as well because Caroline believes the bill for his medical care will run into £10,000s.

The air-lift to hospital was estimated to cost around £3,000, each MRI scan at around £3,000 to £3,500 and he has had at least six or seven of these, plus he has had two operations, intensive care treatment and he may also need to be accompanied by medical staff on his flight home.

“He had trouble getting insurance because of his age and because he was planning to go skiing, but he managed to get insured through the AA and they have been marvellous helping to get things sorted out,” added Caroline.