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Life-changing accident

by Kimberley Cummins

June 15 was supposed to be one of the most wonderful days in the life of Julia Bourne.

juliabourneandbabyOn that day she was expected to give birth to her third baby. However, April fourth came and life as she knew it was changed forever. Around 5:30 in the morning as it rained lightly she hopped on to a route taxi vehicle from the south of the island headed to antenatal clinic at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. As the van travelled in the Hastings, Christ Church vicinity it slid, at the time the then seven month pregnant woman sat on the seat directly behind the driver. As the van lost control she was thrown from the seat and landed on the floor next to the door with her body twisted.

In what she described to Barbados TODAY as seconds later, trying to pull herself up, a Royal Barbados Police Force jeep came from “no where” and thrust into the door. The conductor, who was also near the door, was tossed and one of his feet landed in her back while the other was smashed.

”I felt the baby shift the same time,” she recalled. “Frighten can’t describe how I was feeling. I was screaming, I couldn’t move my legs and I was having tremendous pain. I thought I would die, I thought my baby would die. I remember some walkers coming to help and the people in the van was trying to calm me down but that wasn’t working, I was in too much pain and I was just screaming and crying.”

She was then rushed to the QEH where tests were done. An X-ray showed that her two pelvic bones were broken. After more than a week in the hospital, as well as having to deal with gestational diabetes, she was unable to move around she developed an infection which she passed on to the baby then†giving her more reasons to worry.

Later ultrasounds revealed that the baby was breached so on April 13 doctors at the hospital performed an emergency Caesarian section. The 29-year-old said that before they operated the doctors warned her that there was a chance that the baby may not live. For 50 days after baby Joshua was born he was on life support. Ten months later he is doing better, he hasn’t sustained any injuries but things are very rough for the family.

In an interview at her grandmother’s house in Kendal Hill, Christ Church Bourne asked for help.

Fighting back tears and with two-year-old son, Joel, clutched in her arms the petite young woman told of her plight. Because of the injuries sustained in the accident she is unable to work, she cannot stand for long periods, she walks with a limp, is assisted by a cane and is constantly in pain. She does not receive any Government assistance and now she is in danger of losing her baby.

“I need financial support, if I could help myself I would but I can’t,” she said in a whisper. “There is a case with the insurance but I can’t depend on that because I don’t know how long that process is going to take. What really pushing me is because the baby was in the hospital since and because of my financial problems, that baby had malnutrition, he had gastroenteritis, anaemia so the baby lost a lot of weight which caused him to be underweight for his age. One doctor told me by the time I brought him back to the hospital and he is not up to the regular weight that they would take him from me.

“Doctors tell me I don’t need therapy they say a fractured or broken pelvis don’t need therapy the best thing to do is rest, or go to the beach and let the water run on it to massage it but I can’t rest because I got the children. We all on one bed because the room is small and ’cause of my injuries and stuff I don’t be sleeping properly. The father tries to help but it is not like before where we used to live. I am not at myself so he can’t come and help out like he would want to. I don’t have a washing machine and I have to lift heavy buckets, which I am not supposed to because of the C section.

”I at my grandmother since December and she tries to help me but she is a pensioner and at 80 years old she can’t do much and at her age. I need a lot of assistance,” she said in a trembling voice.

When contacted Minister of Family and incumbent for Christ Church West Central, Stephen Lashley, said he would do his best to get some help for her including welfare and home help. Bourne said he did call and they spoke about her plight. She disclosed that he also suggested other financial avenues for her to take.

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