Nurse appeals for witnesses after being injured by "mystery vehicle"

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Nurse appeals for witnesses after being injured by "mystery vehicle"

11th October 2011

A Rochdale nurse left unable to work after she was hit by a mystery vehicle is appealing for witnesses to come forward and help in her fight for justice.

Michelle Ledden, 45, was struck in the back by a vehicle outside Rochdale Infirmary - where she worked as a Nurse Practitioner – in January 2010. Although Miss Ledden believed she was hit by a passing ambulance, investigations have so far been unable to identify either the vehicle or its driver. Now, 18 months after the incident, she is hoping that vital witnesses will be able to help clear up the mystery as she continues her battle for compensation.

“It was 3pm on Tuesday 19 January last year, and I’d just finished my regular shift at the Walk-In Centre in A&E,” said Miss Ledden, of Milnrow. “I was walking along the pavement out of the car park, when I stopped to have a chat with a patient who had just attended the department. I had my back to the road, and I suddenly heard one of my colleagues - an A&E nurse who was also coming off duty - shouting ‘stop, stop, you’re going onto the pavement’.

“By the tone of the nurse’s voice I thought a child or member of the public was in danger, but the next thing I knew I felt a huge jolt as a vehicle mounted the pavement where I stood and hit me in the back,” said Miss Ledden. “I was stunned and in shock. I didn’t see the vehicle but there was a flash of white in the blind spot to my left, and luckily the nurse who shouted had run over to pull me out of the way otherwise it could have been so much worse.”

Miss Ledden said she believes the vehicle carried NHS markings and that it may have been an ambulance. “I still can’t believe he just drove off like that,” she said. “If it hadn’t have been for the actions of my colleague, who knows what might have happened – but the driver just went on his way.”

Although Miss Ledden immediately felt a pain in her back, she returned to work the next day. “But over the next few days it started to get really painful,” said Miss Ledden. “My back was stiff and I had trouble moving, and then it just got more and more painful. It felt like I’d been hit with a cricket bat. I went to see the doctor and was given painkillers and sent for tests,” she said.

Dr Alistair Macdonald, a partner with personal injury specialists Fentons Solicitors LLP, said Miss Ledden had tried to continue working after the incident but was unable to do so. “Michelle suffered spasms and serious back pains for months afterwards, and has since undergone numerous treatments, scans and physiotherapy sessions - even acupuncture,” he said.

“As anyone who has ever suffered a back injury knows, the pain can flare up out of nowhere and be total agony for the sufferer. Despite trying to carry on with her nursing duties, it soon became clear that Michelle’s injuries left her in no position to continue working.”

Dr Macdonald said that nobody had been able to take down the registration number details of the vehicle that hit Miss Ledden, and although the nurse who came to her aid claimed the vehicle sported NHS signage, investigations had so far failed to determine the nature of the mystery vehicle.

“The effects this incident has had on Michelle and her family are immeasurable,” said Dr Macdonald. “She has been staying at her mother and sister’s houses and they have been helping support her financially and emotionally, as she tries to get on with her life while dealing with the consequences of being hit by this vehicle.

“We urgently need anyone who witnessed the incident to come forward to help us identify the vehicle and the driver, so that we can secure Michelle the compensation to which she is entitled,” said Dr Macdonald. “We are particularly keen to speak with the patient Michelle was talking to at the time. He is described as a well-presented Asian gentleman in his late 20s or 30s, slim to medium build, clean-shaven and had dark short hair. He was wearing a smart, dark jacket and was there as the vehicle hit her. His information could be invaluable.

“All information will be treated in the strictest confidence, and any detail could be hugely important to Michelle’s case,” he said.

Can you help?
If you remember seeing the incident in the grounds of Rochdale Infirmary, shortly after 3pm on Tuesday 19 January 2010, or if you have information which you think might help, please contact Alistair Macdonald at Fentons Solicitors LLP on 0161 238 6412. Alternatively please e-mail alistair.macdonald@fentons.co.uk