Susan and Marc Hutchinson at their Woolgoolga home.
Susan and Marc Hutchinson at their Woolgoolga home. Trevor Veale

Accident victim home for birthday

SUSAN Hutchinson received her ultimate birthday present on Monday – she was finally home from a long hospital stay in Sydney.

The pregnant Woolgoolga 36-year-old, who is due to have her baby in August, is on an arduous road to recovery from the serious injuries she suffered in a car smash at Emerald Beach last month.

While thankfully her unborn child is doing well and is being closely monitored, Susan will need at least two years of intensive physiotherapy to heal her broken spine.

She has compound and burst spinal fractures and she will probably have to stay in a brace until the baby is born. Doctors have also ordered complete bed rest.

She has also been told she may never work again but she says she’s keeping her chin up and staying positive.

Susan flew home on Friday from Royal North Shore Hospital where she’s spent four weeks undergoing treatment.

“An emotional rollercoaster is probably the best thing I can describe it as,” Susan told the Coffs Coast Advocate yesterday.

“It’s been very stressful and very emotional being away from my family.”

She said she had wonderful support from her husband, Marc – who spent time at her bedside in Sydney – and her teenage daughter, Tori.

“There’s no way I could do this without them,” she said.

“I can walk okay but I can’t really do anything else. When I’m lying down the pain is okay but when I’m up it’s constant.”

Back on April 20, Susan and Tori were on their way to Coffs Harbour Education Campus where Susan is doing TAFE childcare studies and Tori attends senior college.

Susan had slowed in a traffic bank-up and looked in her rear-view mirror to see a truck flying up behind her.

“He wasn’t going to stop and I looked to my right to see if I could veer out of the way but there was no room to move and then he hit us and pushed us into a guardrail.”

Susan blanked out momentarily and when she came to she remembers the truck driver coming up to her and saying there was no way he could stop.

Susan initially complained of a sore hand but then she had breathing problems.

She was cut from the wreck and doctors later discovered she had a fractured sternum, cracked ribs and spinal problems. Susan is thankful for the work of emergency crews and bystanders at the scene and the medical help she’s received since.

She’s most grateful, too, her unborn baby has come through unscathed.

“It’s a miracle baby because after two major operations last year we were told there was a very slim chance I could have more children,” she said.

“Two days before Christmas I found out I was pregnant.”

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