A Burnley woman who was left paralysed following an accident eight months ago has just one Christmas wish this year – to be allowed home so she can marry her devoted fiancé.
Tracy Geldart (51) broke her neck after falling down the stairs at home in Rosegrove in March. She was rushed to the Royal Preston Hospital where she underwent hours of surgery to insert a steel plate into her neck. After eight weeks, during which her lungs collapsed four times and she had to have a tracheotomy, Tracy was transferred to a specialist spinal unit at Southport Hospital where she stayed until October.
She needs round-the-clock care and doctors said she would soon be allowed to return home but, because her care package was not finalised, on October 7th, she was moved to a private nursing home in Preston which has a number of beds managed by Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.
But Tracy and her fiancé Mark Gornall (50) said since she was moved to the care home she has not received the same level of specialist care she was getting in Southport, where she was able to use the pool and gym.
The couple said they are desperate for health bosses to finalise her care arrangements so she can return to Burnley in time for Christmas. They have planned their wedding for December 29th at Burnley Register Office but currently have no idea if it will go ahead.
They have now been informed that a panel from Continuing Health Care governing body will decide Tracy’s fate on December 6th.
I just want to go home and to be able to go shopping for my wedding dress.Tracy Geldart
Tracy, who worked in admin and finance before her accident, said: “I just want to go home and to be able to go shopping for my wedding dress. I don’t know whether I’m going to be home for Christmas or not. We are told a decision will be made then that date comes and goes and I still don’t know.”
Mark added: “We feel like we’re in limbo we just want to get her home in time for Christmas and the wedding. Tracy wants to come home so she can get back to work. We want to do the things we used to do before this happened. The NHS did some miraculous things for Tracy with the surgery and everything but the people who are looking after her now are not trained in looking after patients with spinal injuries. Because it is a care home, a lot of the other residents are elderly and have dementia so she can’t even talk to anyone. She is just sat in her bedroom all day. I don’t have a problem with the care home but they are not used to looking after people with Tracy’s needs.
“At Southport she was making good progress, she could go to the gym or in the pool and socially there were lots of people to talk to. They also had a vehicle adapted for wheelchairs which they would let me borrow so I could take her out.”
Mark has contacted Burnley MP Julie Cooper in a bid to try and speed up the discharge process.
“Originally we were told she would be home by September and Tracy has had a couple of setbacks but she should be home by now.
“She’s a real fighter is Tracy. She’s accepted what’s happened from a very early stage and I’ve accepted it. She just battles on, she even took herself to a course in Manchester about getting back into work.
“She needs to come home. Her sister lives in Holland and only comes back twice a year so we’ve arranged the wedding around that but now we don’t know what’s going to happen.”
A spokeswoman for NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, which is charged with making care arrangements for Tracy once she returns home, said: “It is inappropriate and a breach of confidentiality to discuss the personal circumstances of any individual and for these reasons we cannot comment on this particular case.
“Where individuals are seeking a care package, the case is carefully considered by a clinical panel and the decision of that panel is communicated to the individual as soon as possible.”