From: Jim Keeling [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 10 February 2007 20:06
You have probably now all heard about Simon’s skiing accident. I was chatting to Paul just now and he came up with the brilliantly modern idea that I should use email to keep you all posted as to what I know.
By way of background, he was on a ski trip with the British Venture Capital Association in St Anton. As they run two such trips and I went on the one a few weeks earlier, I can picture the resort and know the form quite well as to what would have been going on – good hotel, about 30 people, dividing into groups of 4-8 each day with guides, Simon probably the best skier there. Simon and his team would have been off piste, whenever the weather permitted. The trip is organised by a specialist corporate ski business and the girl in charge on site for this trip, Kate, who I have not met, was skiing with Simon when the accident happened. I have spoken to Kate several times since and also to a couple of doctors at the hospital.
To the accident – as relayed to me by Kate who was at the scene. Friday about 3.30pm their time, skiing in the trees and then onto a steep bit of open snow above a ravine. Guide tells them to side step and Simon as, in Kate’s words, “easily the best skier in the group” gets permission from the guide (good boy) to ski, but then crosses his skis, presumably falls and goes over the edge. Guide and rest of group shout to him but there is no reply as, they assume, he was unconscious. 1.5 hours later a rescue helicopter winches him out of the ravine on a rope and Kate and the rest of the group are relieved to see he is holding his head high – so is conscious etc. They say he fell “150 metres”.
He was flown to the best hospital in the area for this sort of accident. Rather comically, a police helicopter turned up after the rescue helcipopter to check I’m not sure what – a sign of the times.
Kate I think went with him on Friday evening and certainly returned to the hospital this morning to deal with the doctors, take him kit etc. They got hold of Ursula at about 7pm and she passed the message to Mum and Dad and me. She has also been in touch with various others including Harry, Archie and Sarah. Ursula did not manage to speak to a doc immediately as they were not available when she called, but by chance I got through to one at the hospital who made it clear that they do not think there is any permanent damage.
I spoke to another doc and Kate, who were together with Simon, this morning and the prognosis is as follows:
- He has a hairline facture in his skull, which is not a problem as it will get better in due course (sounds a bit like Arthur’s a year or so ago).
- He has broken or maybe cracked or maybe very badly bruised three or four ribs, which is also not a problem, though painful
- He had some bleeding in his skull, which I think would have been a problem if it had continued but had stopped and was expected this morning to remain stopped, so should not be a problem.
- He has cracked his “fifth vertebra” (yesterday’s doctor’s description), or his cervical spine (today’s doctor’s description). This is I think more serious, but he is NOT paralysed in any way. A more specialist doc will examine him on Monday to decide if he needs an operation, but it sounded to me as though this was more of a precaution than because an op is likely.
- On the basis, I think, that there is not an op, he is likely to be in hospital for a week before being fit to fly back.
- He is not able to sit up at the moment and his face is quite bashed up. He is lucid at times, but then forgets what he has said. The doc said he will be much more compos mentis tomorrow.
He is absolutely exhausted, sleeping a lot and, I guess, up to his eyeballs in pain-killers. Maybe as a result, he said this morning to Ursula that he did not want telephone calls or anyone to go out there to be with him for the moment. It may be that Ursula decides to over-rule the latter, but I should think it is best not to call him for the moment.
The hospital details are:
(You may want to check that if you are sending him anything as things may have been lost in translation - tel: 00 43 55 22303)
Do call if you want any more details. If I hear of any big change in the prognosis, I will try to do another email. If any of you think the email addresses I have used for any of the bros are wrong, pls forward this with the right address.
With lots of love
Posted on Jim's behalf by George
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