On the 3rd November 2019, as 24 year old Jake Portrey from Leamington Spa rode his beloved motorcycle, a car reversed into his path, knocked him off and changed his life forever.
Jake’s rehabilitation journey – during the middle of a global pandemic – is a remarkable testament to the power of his mindset and approach to his recovery.
With the support of his friends, family and the professionals we’ve worked with, Jake is positive about the future and is a great example for other young adults who find themselves in a similar situation.
Read of Jake’s rehabilitation journey and speak to us about our services for people who have experienced lower limb trauma.
Jake’s mother, Jenny Lane, an experienced A&E nurse at Warwick Hospital recalls the moment she was told her son was involved in the collision:
“Jake called his father first, who called me and told me ‘Jake’s foot’s hanging off’. When he arrived in resus at hospital he was on a spinal board and refusing painkillers.”
Jake was given two options: to amputate the leg or undergo a procedure to try to save it.
As Jenny recounted, “Jake chose the latter, so we signed some consent forms and the doctors began the process of salvaging his leg. It began with two weeks of antibiotics, followed by 18 hours of surgery which resulted in a procedure to replace a lost tendon and shinbone.”
Following that initial operation, twelve weeks into his recovery, a setback occurred when, with his mobility still restricted, Jake collapsed at home and was immediately ‘blue lighted’ to hospital alongside his mum.
“I called Jake’s plastic surgeon, Mr Wallace, on the way the hospital to warn him that we were on the way. He met us there and Jake was whisked straight to theatre,” recalls Jenny.
An hour later, Mr Wallace emerged to explain that options to save the leg were limited. The bone was infected with osteomyelitis, to the extent that the bone literally crumbled in the experienced surgeons hands.
On Friday 13th March 2020, just days before the first national ‘lockdown’, Jake underwent the procedure to amputate his limb below the knee.
The operation was a success and in the words of his mother, it was the ‘start of a better life’with the daily physical pain he had been living with, since that Friday in November, now gone.
Jake was finally ready to begin his rehabilitation. However, in the hospital where he was due to receive his treatment, two people tested positive for Covid-19, so he was referred to a local NHS rehabilitation centre.
The effect of lockdown on the local NHS provision was devastating.
At a time when Jake was supposed to be receiving the most intensive phase of rehabilitation and therapy, in reality he was getting very little practical support.
Attempts to start effective rehabilitation were delayed as the NHS mobilised its resources to deal with the pandemic and restrictions were launched across the country. The challenges faced by the NHS meant that Jake’s recovery was in risk of being jeopardised.
Often, if an individual sustains serious injuries and there is a litigation claim, a case manager is appointed, who’s role is to identify, recommend and support the right course of rehabilitation for the injured party.
Jake’s solicitor, Caroline Morris of Fletchers Solicitors, appointed Liz Haunch, an experienced case manager at Bridge Case Management, who immediately identified the issues faced with the NHS provisions for her client and swiftly contacted Natalie Clarke at Direct Line Group who rapidly agreed with her referral of Jake to Pace Rehabilitation.
A new life
Thanks to proactivity of Liz and Natalie – with the support of his family – within 24 hours, Jake was a new patient of Pace Rehabilitation in Amersham and immediately received physiotherapy exercises and was sent the equipment to help him commence his rehabilitation journey.
“If it was left to the NHS, I firmly believe he’d still be lying in his bed due to the issues caused by the pandemic. Having a case worker refer us to Pace was incredible. Jake has come on and got better and stronger ever since. The team are amazing and he’s in a very happy and positive place in his life now,” says Jenny.
Within a few weeks, Jake was walking on his prosthetic leg without any mobility aids.
The positive impact of the rehabilitation has been both physical and psychological for Jake who has already resumed his career as a mechanic, passed his driving test and is now working on growing his own business.
He’s also back on a bike – currently a quad bike, but with a view to getting back on his beloved motorcycle very soon.
Refer your client to Pace Rehabilitation by calling Scott Richardson on (01494) 790 490 or email email@example.com
“This is an excellent example of everyone – the solicitors, the insurance company and the case manager – working together to provide Jake with the best opportunity for successful rehabilitation in unprecedented times. By working collaboratively, with the support of the family, Jake has been able to make real progress in his rehabilitation and now has a tremendous opportunity to pursue his career and life ambitions.”
Scott Richardson Pace Rehabilitation