January 3, 2020
When Angelic Murray heard her 7-year-old daughter Portia had fallen off her bike she never expected to find the brake lever pierced into her groin — just 1mm away from a major artery.
Any closer and it's likely she would have bled out and died.
The Auckland mum credits the surgeon and the rescue team for keeping her daughter alive and removing the brake lever safely.
"I remember the surgeon telling us we should go out and buy a Lotto ticket because our daughter is one lucky girl," Murray told the Herald.
In October, the family were holidaying in Omaha when Portia went for a bike ride with her older cousin.
They decided to race back and there was a slight hill that she came down, we don't quite know how it happened but somehow the handlebars twisted right round and she fell.
"As she fell, the handlebars hit the concrete and the brake lever had nowhere to go but into her groin.
"It was an absolute freak accident," Murray said.
By the time Murray and her husband Hamish got to their daughter, a doctor, who happened to be walking past, was with her and an ambulance had been called.
"I never expected it to be that bad, I thought she'd just fallen off her bike. The doctor was amazing, she just took control and told people to get blankets and not to touch it because she could bleed out."
Hamish, who is a builder, had to cut the bike from the handlebar section without removing the lever impaled in his daughter's groin.
"He had to be very careful because the handlebars were so close to her leg and a few people had to hold it in place while he was cutting and Portia was screaming, which was pretty awful to watch."
Portia was flown to Auckland's Starship hospital, where an x-ray was taken before an orthopaedic surgeon removed the brake lever and stitched her back up in an hour-long operation.
The surgeon said it was 1mm away from a major artery and if it had hit it she would have bled out.
"They did an amazing job removing it," Murray said.
Portia spent two days in hospital before she was taken home to spend the next six weeks recovering. Only then could she walk — with the help of crutches.
"For the first couple of weeks after the accident she used to get nightmares, which was hard," Murray said.
Though she finds it frustrating and she can't jump on the trampoline with her younger brother and be active, she continues to remain positive.
"It's amazing how resilient kids can be," Murray said. Portia hasn't been able to get back on her bike yet but the family are hopeful she'll get her confidence back eventually.
I'm just so grateful to the surgeons, paramedics, local fire brigade and Auckland Rescue Helicopters for being so amazing."