WAKING up in hospital after a horrific horse-riding accident, 13-year-old Hana Elder probably could not imagine getting back in the saddle.
But the keen rider has defied doctors’ expectations and she is already taking part in riding competitions – just five months after she broke her femur and her pelvis in four places when she was crushed below her pony.
The schoolgirl was training for a race with her father, Hugh, on the family’s farm near Haddington when pony Dan stumbled, throwing her off before landing on top of her.
Hana’s injuries were so serious that paramedics were forced to call Medic One – a specialist team of emergency doctors – who treated her at the scene and took her to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
Hana, an S3 pupil at Knox Academy in Haddington, said: “My dad said he could see my leg was lying really awkwardly and also that there was a bulge in my thigh.
“They put a pelvic brace on and they also gave me an injection which meant that I could be moved into the ambulance.”
Doctors at the ERI inserted a 43cm pin in Hana’s leg and she was moved to intensive care.
Mother Louise said: “Throughout the whole ordeal Hana had been remarkably brave and very calm.
“I on the other hand was quite frightened – a leg break you are familiar with but I was concerned about her pelvis. I was also worried that there might be other hidden things wrong.”
Despite struggling to walk at first due to extreme swelling in her leg, Hana was able to return home on Easter Sunday after more than a week in hospital.
She undertook weekly physiotherapy sessions to help rebuild the muscles in her leg again and ten weeks after the accident she started riding again.
Louise hailed the work of paramedics and Medic One, who she credits with contributing to Hana’s impressive recovery.
She said: “Hana is doing amazingly well. I really believe her recovery is down to the immediate attention she received – it meant Hana had every chance of a speedy recovery.”
Hana and her mum joined the Medic One for an emotional meeting at the ERI this month.
Dr Sara Robinson, a consultant in emergency medicine, said: “We are all delighted with how well Hana is recovering. It was challenging to move her from the field where she was injured in to the ambulance because of both the nature of her injuries and the uneven terrain.
“I’m pleased that she remembers relatively little about her transfer to hospital and that her pain was well controlled.”