Edinburgh Walker suffers 12 fractures in hill fall
A DOCTOR who broke her back in 12 places in a mountain fall walked off the hill, was driven 70 miles home and fed the dog '“ before going to A&E.
Ashley Simpson also fractured several ribs after slipping on Ben Lawers in the Highlands and only cheated death by hitting a boulder which stopped her fall.
But the 27-year-old from the Capital had no idea just how badly injured she was and even smiled for a picture taken by her boyfriend, Robbie McNally, as she lay in the snow.
Helped by Robbie, she then walked for more than two hours back to their car.
Incredibly, the couple even stopped in Stirling for a Burger King and a coffee before completing their journey.
It was only when Ashley walked into A&E at her own hospital – seven hours after falling – that colleagues realised how badly she was hurt.
A shocked Ashley immediately had her clothes cut off and her neck placed in a brace. She spent eight days in hospital following the accident in March and has only just returned to part-time work.
The junior doctor at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and social worker Robbie, 32, had decided to climb all of Scotland’s 282 Munros and were only on their second peak, accompanied by their dog, Red, when disaster struck.
Ashley said: “We were 15 minutes into our walk back down from the summit when I slipped on some hidden ice and my feet went from under me.
“Once I was sliding, I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t get my feet to dig in and even my poles wouldn’t help. I picked up momentum so fast.
“I slid past Robbie who was five feet in front and he thought I was joking but I was out of control.
“The snow then stopped and I fell for what must have been 25 metres at a 45-degree angle. It was only a boulder that stopped me from falling any further.”
Astonishingly, brave Ashley managed a weak smile for a picture taken as she lay on the ground after falling.
Robbie, who broke his back in a motorbike crash 12 years ago, thought the image might help her get over it. She added: “It turns out I had 12 fractures in my spine and lots of broken ribs but I didn’t realise.
“I didn’t want mountain rescue to come and then leave Robbie and the dog alone.”
Ashley said her colleagues at A&E at first didn’t realise how badly she was hurt because she was walking “and didn’t arrive in a helicopter”.
Hospital staff had said she would be back to normal activities in four weeks.
She said: “About six weeks after it, I realised I could have died. I’m 27 and it’s really affected my life. It’s like grieving for the active person I used to be.”