Riding instructor’s hand almost severed by horse

2010-01-13 00:00

A KWAZULU-NATAL riding instructor got a brutal lesson in the meaning of horse power when her hand was nearly wrenched from her arm as she tried to load a frisky horse into its box.

Gill Liddemore (42) had to be raced the 88 kilometres from Hermannsburg High near Greytown, where the accident happened, to St Anne’s Hospital on Saturday afternoon. Her hand was almost severed from her arm as her radius was broken close to the joint and the ulna completely dislocated.

The horse-riding instructor and school’s equestrian centre manager says she was loading a horse named Summer Story into a twin horse trailer when the accident happened.

“I’m used to doing this, but I didn’t see this one coming. I had just led him inside the boxes and my right hand was holding on the frame partition between the boxes.

“The old fellow turned his head, moving his rump in the process. My hand was then stuck between the horse and the bare iron of the frame, with the force of the animal breaking my hand,” said Liddemore.

She screamed for her husband, who was just outside the trailer, to open the door.

“I was conscious and in control all the time. My husband said he would call an ambulance, but I said ‘no, drive me to hospital now’. I looked at my hand once, but I couldn’t again because the sight of the injury was too much to bear,” she said.

At the hospital, doctors looked at the injury and decided to use a pin and plate set, which had to be fetched from Durban, to hold the hand and arm together.

The three-hour operation was completely successful.

“I was not shaken by the incident because accidents do happen in the line of duty,” Liddemore said.

At the age of eight Liddemore’s jaw was broken in two after she was kicked by one of the horses at her parents’ home.

Operating doctor, orthopaedic surgeon Dr Pramod Gongal, said Liddemore was lucky to have arrived at the hospital in reasonable time. He said the worst that could have happened would have been for the two wrist arteries to burst.

“She was fortunate that the radial and ulna arteries were not severed otherwise that could have led to some complications. That could have compromised the blood flow to her hand, leading to its amputation,” Dr Gongal said.

However, he did not rule out the chances of the wound going septic. He said because the accident occurred in the farming environment and the bones and wound were exposed to it, that could cause problems in the healing process.

“But so far she is doing good and I don’t see why she shouldn’t heal. It will take two to three months though for her to recover completely,” said Dr Gongal.

Liddemore will spend the rest of the week in hospital. Doctors say she will need five days of strong antibiotics before she is discharged.


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