A 27-year-old woman gets back on her feet against all odds

On August 5, 2015, 27-year-old neonatal nurse Haddie Borbély of Bradford, England was struck by a car as its driver — distracted by texting — plowed through a pedestrian crossing, trapping her underneath.

Freed from under the vehicle by a quick-working emergency services team, Haddie was rushed to the hospital, where doctors and nurses worked into the night to save her life. Her injuries were numerous: multiple fracture of tibia and fibula, a stress fracture, a dislocated knee, multiple torn ligaments and a broken ankle.

Previously an active hiker and climber, Haddie was devastated when doctors told her she might not walk again. Just two months before the accident, Haddie had started seeing her boyfriend Tom. Hearing the doctors' bleak prognosis, she told him, "You don’t have to stick around, I don’t expect you to. I am not the girl now that you met and I understand if you want to move on." But Tom did stick around. And with his support, Haddie made a decision: she would walk again. No matter what the doctors said. But she had a long healing process ahead of her. Her legs were so badly damaged, she had to be fitted with a device called an Ilizarov, an external metal structure that held her bones together while they healed. The pain was excruciating.

Although happy when the device was removed six months later, Haddie confronted a new reality as she got a first look at the scars left behind from skin grafts where the bone had torn her skin. When summer came, she felt particularly self-conscious: how was she going to wear shorts? Despite her initial fears, Haddie learned to accept her scars. "The truth is my scars are my marks of my survival – I almost died and as a nurse I know too well how lucky I am. So I have put my fears aside and have decided to embrace my scars as part of my journey back to life."

A year later, with the help of crutches, Haddie began walking again, amazing doctors with her extraordinary recovery. When x-rays revealed that her fibula was even growing back, one of her doctors affectionately nicknamed her "lizard lady." Here she is practicing walking:

Continuing to make incredible progress, Haddie has been charting her recovery on her Facebook page, which she titled "Haddie's Journey."  Tom has been by her side through the whole journey, joined by a supportive family and an incredible team of doctors.

Haddie has demonstrated that even in the face of overwhelming injuries, a can-do attitude plays an important role in aiding recovery. How fortunate that she not only survived such a devastating accident, but came out the other side with her dreams still intact. Hats off to you, Haddie, for your determination and positive example!

 

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