A former school secretary who suffered horrific injuries and nearly died in a road crash while working in Africa has criticised City of York Council.
Mrs Heeles was one of four members of staff from York schools – St Mary’s and Westfield School – to go to their twin school, St Paul’s in Begoro in Ghana, in the February half-term breaklast year.They were in a minibus between the airport and a hotel in the host school village when it was hit by another vehicle.
OK, a road traffic accident. Not, surely, any fault of the council.
“They just didn’t know what to do with me. I had to ask for blood transfusions because I could feel myself dying.
“I asked them if it was clean blood because of HIV, and they said it was, but since I have been back home I have had to undergo testing, which has been horrendous, but I am all clear.” Mrs Heeles, already awake for nearly 24 hours, had to endure a two-hour ride in a make-shift ambulance to Accra.
OK, so, crappy Third World health services. Again, unless they’ve expanded York Council’s area of influence across the oceans, I can’t see how they can be blamed for either…
Maybe they didn’t provide any assista…
Mr Heeles used council travel insurance to fly her back to the UK, where she spent five-and-a-half weeks in Leeds General Infirmary.
Well, that’s not it, either.
She has had 23 operationsto reconstruct her arm, using muscle tissue from her back and skin grafts from her leg.She has also been left with osteomyelitis as a result of a water-borne bacteria infection doctors think she contracted in Ghana, meaning the bones in her shattered arm have crumbled.
The drugs used to treat her infection have also destroyed the hairs in her ear canal, meaning she will have balance problems for the rest of her life and needs to use a wheelchair to get around outdoors and a crutch indoors.
And none of those are the fault of the council either, just consequences of the accident and the conditions under which she was living abroad.
So, I’m intrigued.
She said a £15,000 pay out from the council’s travel insurance was used to buy a specially adapted car so she can still drive, but she can no longer work. She said she had received no compensation from the council and has been forced to take early retirement.
And what sort of extra compensation from the council is she expecting? It seems to me that they’ve done everything they need to…
Her main complaint against the council and the school, where she worked for nine years, is that there was no Health and Safety inspection carried out before the trip and they were not warned of the dangers.
Right. I see. So this school secretary needed the council to tell her that Ghana was a Third World country and unlikely to have the same standards of road safety and healthcare as York?
Couldn’t she just use common sense?