Berwick man told he would never walk again after horrific car crash defied doctors by taking his first steps out of the hospital

A man who was told he would never walk again following and A1 horror crash which saw him airlifted to hospital has described the moment he defied doctors and took his first steps out of the hospital.

Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 4:00 pm

Neil Mutch, from Berwick, suffered devastating injuries in a car crash while returning from a cycling challenge in The Cheviots, Northumberland.

He was just 400m from his turn off on the A1 near Berwick when his car was ‘crushed’ in a horrific crash in 2015.

“The assumption is that I blacked out. The first collision was the front of my car with the rear end of a van which then caused me to spin sideways and the car behind the van then collided with my passenger side. My car was crushed,” said the 57-year-old.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Neil Mutch pictured three months post accident (top left) and with his wife Sharon (bottom left)

“I had called my wife Sharon to say I was heading home and that I would be around 30 minutes and she said she would put the curry on – that was the last thing I remember.

“When I woke up in hospital, Sharon was over me and all I could hear her saying was ‘please promise me you will fight’.”

The incident was attended by the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) who worked with North East Ambulance Service crews on scene before flying Mr Mutch to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

Mr Mutch said: “I had broken the C1 and C2 vertebrae in my neck as well as internal decapitation which is also known as the ‘hangman’s fracture’ and is fatal in 80% of people.

Neil with wife Sharon

Read More

Read More
Chris Dobey prepares to fly the flag for Northumberland at the PDC World Champio...

“I also had eight broken ribs, fractured sternum, fractured cheek and collar bone, a punctured lung and a bleed on the brain.”

After spending two weeks in the RVI intensive care unit, Mr Mutch was transferred to James Cook University Hospital’s spinal unit.

Mr Mutch said: “Permanent paralysis was the prognosis. But I said ‘I will beat this, and I will recover’.

Neil picture three months after the accident.

“I was worried about the things I might not be able to do in normal life. Simple things, like making a cup of coffee, going to the toilet and walking my dogs – I missed them so much. I just missed home so much.”

The turning point came when Mr Mutch was able to move his finger for the first time.

He said: “When my finger moved, I thought I will actually get better and will be able to walk again.”

Mr Mutch was in hospital from July until late September and when he was finally discharged, hospital staff came off their lunch breaks to see him leave.

Neil Mutch and his dogs on his return from hospital

He said: “I took seven steps out of the hospital doors in my frame after being told I would never walk again. It was incredible. My outlook on life since has been to keep fighting and never give up.”

Help GNAAS to keep holding strong this Christmas so they can continue to deploy their teams across the North of England to those who need them most; saving lives, easing suffering and keeping friends and families together.

The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers and consequently the advertising that we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news by buying a copy of our newspaper. If you can, please do pick up a copy when you are at the shops. Thank you for your support.