Sheffield boy, 3, left 'bleeding from his head' after falling down hole in Peak District
The family of a three-year-old boy who was seriously injured when he fell through a 40cm-wide hole in the ground on a family day out in the Peak District have backed Sheffield Children’s Hospital’s £4.5m appeal to transform their Emergency Department.
Sam Tuckett, from Millhouses, hit his head and body on rocks after he fell through the hole - which was about the same size as an A3 piece of paper - leaving him bleeding heavily and needing immediate medical attention.
The family were rushed to Sheffield Children’s Hospital where little Sam underwent tests to determine the damage to his brain before he was moved on to a ward eight hours later.
Fortunately, the toddler made full recovery and was discharged five days later, but Sam’s parents now want to give back to the staff who saved their little boy’s life by helping them turn their dilapidated surroundings into a state-of-the-art department fit for the numbers of patients it currently sees.
Sam’s mum Louise, aged 36, said Sam was walking with his older brother just a few steps ahead of them when he suddenly disappeared.
“My husband and I just looked at each other in complete panic,” she says.
“Mark clambered down to get him, which made our one-year-old daughter scream as she didn’t know what was going on.
“Our eldest just asked if Sam had died - he doesn’t really know what that means yet, he just knows that it’s the worst thing that can happen. I told him everything was going to be okay, but I honestly didn’t know if it would be.
“I called 999 and they asked me lots of questions - was he conscious, could he move, was he breathing? I couldn’t see Sam, so I couldn’t answer any of them.
“I was frantically flagging down any passers-by in the hope that one of them would be a doctor or nurse and be able to help, but none of them were.”
When his dad finally managed to bring him up to the surface, Sam was bleeding heavily and crying. He carried him to the nearest road while the family waited anxiously for an ambulance.
It arrived 15 minutes later, and Sam was taken to the Emergency Department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
“It was very crowded, and we had to be careful, making sure to keep out of the way and not trip over wires going in every direction,” said Louise.
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“Everything goes through your mind - I was planning for the worst possible outcomes.”
For the first few hours, Sam was unable to speak. He underwent a CT scan to determine the extent of the damage to his brain and shortly after, told his Mum he wanted to go home.
“The feeling of relief was immeasurable - he was talking and thinking like the boy we know.
“For the first time, I had a genuine glimmer of hope that he would be okay. Sam could hear us talking and telling him we were with him.
“Both my husband and I held onto the thought that he’d have heard us saying we loved him, and we were staying with him while the nurses and doctors saved his life.”
“Sam is a bundle of energy who believes he can do anything. He has no memory of the accident, but it was a day that the rest of us will never forget. We owe everything to every member of staff who helped our family in those days.”
Sam’s family are now backing The Children’s Hospital Charity’s £4.5m appeal to transform the Emergency Department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
The department was built to see 32,000 children every year but now sees more than 60,000 every 12 months from across South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.
“We experienced first-hand that the Emergency Department needs to be developed,” said Louise.
“The care was fantastic, but we never realised how well the staff manage with the limited space.
“We want to help them build a place which has all the facilities they could possibly need, because our story could happen to anyone.”
To find out how you can support the appeal for a new Emergency Department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, visit www.tchc.org.uk/donate.