The parents of a young boy who survived being dragged along the road under a car have issued a heartfelt thank you to doctors, emergency workers and neighbours who helped save him.
Sharon Brierley and Paul O’Sullivan spoke yesterday as their son, Daniel, continues his remarkable recovery after last Friday’s horror accident on the northside of Cork City.
“I’ll never forget what they did for us,” Paul said.
Daniel was fleeing from a wasp when he ran onto the road outside his grandmother’s house in the St John’s Well area of Fairhill on Friday afternoon. He was struck by a car, pulled underneath the vehicle, and dragged 17 metres along the road, before the car mounted a step.
One of his legs got wrapped around the axle, causing an appalling leg break, he broke several ribs, broke a bone in his neck, suffered a punctured lung, and several friction burns to his head, face, chest and arms. Despite the horrific accident, Daniel was conscious when the car came to rest, with him trapped between the path and one of the car’s front wheels.
His dad, Paul, who was first on the scene, said the car was still on top of his son: “He was talking as he was under the car. My first reaction was to pull him out but his leg was so twisted, stuck in the axle of the car. I’ve never seen a leg bent so much the way it shouldn’t be. I decided against lifting him out or lifting the car up. I just tried to stay calm and positive and ensure I didn’t hurt him anymore.”
Paul said his son had difficulty breathing but was able to talk, so he kept chatting to him to keep him calm.
“It was a sickening sight but I had to keep him talking and keep people who were crying away from the scene,” he said.
Paul said he tried as best he could to block out the horror of what was happening because he was afraid if Daniel saw him upset, it would cause him more distress.
The distraught female driver of the car was taken to a neighbouring house and was later treated for shock.
Neighbours raced to nearby Parklands Surgery to raise the alarm, and a doctor who rushed to the scene gave Daniel pain relief.
“I’m so grateful for that,” Paul said.
Emergency services used airbags to lift the car off the little boy and he was rushed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital where he was still being treated last night.
But Paul said they are amazed at how quickly he is recovering: “He was sitting up a few hours later in hospital watching TV.”
Despite the positives, the couple said they are worried about the long-term psychological impact because Daniel is waking at night screaming: “Daddy, get this car off me.”
Paul issued an emotional thank you yesterday to those who helped him while Daniel was trapped under the car. And he thanked the doctors and nurses at CUH for the care they have been giving his son since the accident.
“He’s a character of a child. If you looked at him today, you wouldn’t think he’d been what he’s been through,” he said.
Daniel, who was due in Scoil Iosagáin in Farranree next month, is facing a lengthy stay in hospital, but neighbours are already planning a huge welcome home for him.
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