A cyclist who was left fighting for his life after crashing through the back window of a car has spoken out about the horrifying moment paramedics cut his throat open on the side of a road.
Freddie Howard, 24, was nearly killed when he crashed through the window of a parked car after an evening out with friends.
The crash left Freddie, who was 21 at the time, with devastating injuries, including an exposed carotid artery and a brain injury, Yorkshire Live reports.
His injuries were so severe that paramedics put up a white tent around him as he lay on the road, which he was later told is something that medics do when they expect a person to die at the scene.
He was given a tracheotomy which is when medics cut the throat open to restore a patient's airways.
He told Yorkshire Live the procedure saved his life, preventing him from choking on his own blood.
"So, this tracheotomy bypassed my blocked throat as I'd de-gloved my neck and exposed my carotid artery and my windpipe, so I had the tracheotomy and was loosely stitched up at the side of the road,” he said.
In the hours before his horrifying ordeal, Freddie had been out with friends enjoying a few drinks after work. He said that he didn’t have any recollection of the actual event, with his memory blank from about mid afternoon on Friday.
“I have photos from that day when I was with my friends that jog my memory and help me piece it together and I can still talk about what I've been told happened,” he said.
After his night out with mates, Freddie had thought that he had missed the last train home, when actually it had been moved to a different platform. Believing that he had no other way to get home, Freddie felt he had no option but to ride his bike.
As he had not had more than two drinks, he knew that he was not over the legal limit to cycle but, after his accident, the 24-year-old was told by paramedics that it had been "torrential rain" that evening, which he thinks may have contributed to his accident.
Freddie said: "I don't really know why or how it happened, I find that I look over my right hand shoulder when I'm pulling out and I imagine I was doing that [as cars were parked on the road] and, because of the rain it took me longer to see or I got my timings wrong, but I went through the back window of a VW people carrier.
"From that moment, I was purely knocked out - there's a scale of 0-13 that registers your consciousness and I was at 0, they say that when you're out and about you're at 13, so I was badly knocked out.”
Freddie, who had been staying in London for an internship at the time, was then rushed in an ambulance to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, where a team of 30 doctors were waiting to operate on him and save his life.
Thankfully, despite such devastating injuries, Freddie survived but he had sustained a nasty brain injury, as well as deep lacerations to his face that have left him scarred.
"In terms of the recovery, I went back to university in September but I just wasn't ready so ended up dropping out as I felt slow physically and mentally", Freddie said.
He added: "I wasn't quite ready for it, I'd sustained a brain injury but not brain damage so it was something that would go away but it was something that was just going to take a little while.
"I'm still meant to have quite a few surgeries to deal with the scars, but because of coronavirus it's been delayed for two years - obviously a pain but we survive and it just means that the scars have had a lot more time to settle."
Freddie said that, as he does not remember the actual accident, it is his parents that he feels have suffered the most.
He said: "My parents found out as there was a policeman who knocked on the family home in Yorkshire and said what had happened, they were obviously very shocked and taken aback so they drove straight down to London.”
The three-hour car journey, during which they didn’t know if their boy was dead or alive, must have been “horrendous” for his parents, Freddie said.
Having had time to heal from the physical and mental impacts of the accident, Freddie is now back to cycling and he has plans to return to London later this year - where he hopes to meet up with the man whose car he crashed into.
"We've got plans to meet up, we're just people who have had one of those strange connections in life", Freddie said.
And as a thanks for saving his life, Freddie has also dedicated himself to raising money for the London Air Ambulance.
He said: "The way I see it is that it will always be my charity of choice, I'll always have a link to it. It's something that I feel intrinsically linked to and I'll never repay them for what they've given me."Read More Read More