Sonali's Story

Thanks to an Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS Wales) intervention a South Wales mum who suffered horrific injuries after being crushed by her own car was able to return to work just twelve weeks after the accident which left her fighting for her life.

Sonali Das Simpson had life-saving chest surgery at the scene of the accident, in a Porthcawl car park, in June 2015. She was treated by ''flying medics' from EMRTS Wales who attended the scene on board a Wales Air Ambulance Charity helicopter.


Sonali’s injuries occurred in a freak accident when she was run over by the front wheel of her own car whilst collecting her daughter from school in Porthcawl.  Crushed by the weight of the vehicle, she suffered multiple rib fractures, a collapsed lung, blood in her chest as well as other fractures to her body. 


The Wales Air Ambulance Charity helicopter was called to the scene with EMRTS Wales’ Dr Dinendra Gill, Dr Craig Williams and Critical Care Practitioner Chris Connor on board.


Sonali received blood and anaesthetic as well as life-saving chest surgery which involved making a hole in the left side of the chest to relieve the pressure that had created the collapsed lung. This would have been a routine procedure on a patient in hospital, but performing this procedure in a car park is something new to Wales.


Sonali was then taken to Morriston Hospital where she was given pioneering treatment by trauma consultant and Professor of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Mr Ian Pallister to fix her ribs. 


Normally, when a patient’s rib is broken it is left to heal independently. In Sonali’s case, as she had multiple rib fractures, the consultant made the decision to operate and use a rib fixation procedure.


Sonali’s right arm was also badly injured in the accident, and the injuries could have affected her ability to work. Fortunately she has recovered most of the mobility in her arm.


As a trained clinician, Sonali recognises the importance of the pre-hospital care she received from the EMRTS Wales critical care team and the fact Wales Air Ambulance Charity helicopter is now stocked with essential blood, drugs and new life-saving equipment. 


The trauma care she received at the scene before getting to hospital played a huge role in saving her life.


After sixteen days in hospital, thirteen days in the intensive care unit, Sonali was able to go home to recover. Twelve weeks later she returned to work as an optician in Neath and Bridgend.


“The care I received was absolutely amazing.  Everyone is amazed at how well I’m doing and how quickly I’ve recovered. I only spent 16 days in hospital, which is incredible when you consider my injuries.”

Sonali Das Simpson

“We’re delighted Sonali has recovered so well and so quickly following her injuries.This is an excellent demonstration of how trauma patients should be managed, from delivering high quality pre-hospital treatment to the brilliant inpatient care received at Morriston Hospital. The whole trauma care process undoubtedly helped to save her life.”

Dr Dinendra Gill

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