Queen Elizabeth Hospital staff member tells how injury changed the direction of her life

Shelley Faulkner. Photo: SUBMITTED.
Shelley Faulkner. Photo: SUBMITTED.

A member of staff at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital has shared an incredible story, detailing how an injury changed her life, in the hope of inspiring others.

Shelley Faulkner, now an occupational therapist at the QEH, was driving to her job as an equality and human rights advisor four years ago when her car hit a patch of ice and sent her life in a new direction.

She suffered a serious spinal injury and there were fears she could have been left paralysed, but thanks to her determination and the care provided by health professionals, Shelley has recovered but was also inspired to retrain as an occupational therapist.

Now she has joined the team of allied health professionals at the QEH and is helping patients to regain their confidences after operations.

In this role, she plays a key part in helping patients with a range of conditions to improve their mobility and independence by changing their environment, using new techniques or equipment.

She said: “During my recovery, the occupational therapists were really positive with me and gave me hope that my left arm would work again.

“I was given the responsibility as a patient to move forward and that felt really reassuring and made me start to think that I would like to give something back.

“Occupational Therapy looks at every aspect of a patient’s life. I was keen to get back to the level of normality that I was used to. I was given hope.

“All the health professionals are in it for the patients. You join the NHS as you care about people and want the best for them.

“The thought that I could help a person to appreciate every aspect of their life and become a kind of motivation drew me to this profession.”

Shelley’s life was changed on November 15, 2013, when she was driving to work from Alcester to Stratford-upon-Avon, and her car skidded on the ice.

After it flipped and landed in a field, firefighters cut her free from the remains of her car and she was taken to A&E at nearby Redditch, and later transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

During her time in hospital, Shelley had a number of operations.

She said: “The occupational therapist was really keen to get my left arm working again. She reminded me that I was still quite young and how much time and determination I had.”

Shelley said the occupational therapist helped make her feel she could achieve anything. She joined the QEH in July.

“I enjoy talking to the patients, their families and relatives. It is a proud moment to see my name on my tunic.”