Patient Story -

Man suffers head and spinal injury in cherry picker rollover

One August afternoon at Mount Tamborine, Anthony Leighton was up high in a cherry picker, picking avocadoes when an unexpected accident threw him to the ground six metres below.

Anthony’s wife, Stephanie arrived home that afternoon and was surprised when he didn’t welcome her as he usually did, so Stephanie headed outside to find him. When she saw the cherry picker on its side, she assumed he must be doing maintenance work on it, but as she approached she saw Anthony lying on the ground.

While there were no visible signs of injury and no blood it was immediately clear to Stephanie that Anthony was seriously injured, as he was unconscious. She quickly ran back inside and dialled 000.

The local ambulance arrived just 15 minutes later. They immediately detected Anthony’s brain injury, so the ambulance officers called for RACQ CareFlight Queensland. They knew he needed to get to a major hospital as soon as possible.

CareFlight arrived soon after, landing on a neighbouring property. Once on the ground it was only a matter of minutes before the CareFlight medical team were with Anthony, preparing him to be airlifted to the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Anthony suffered a brain injury and two crushed vertebrae in the fall.

CareFlight landed at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and Anthony was immediately admitted to intensive care.

Within a few days, he had regained consciousness, and his recovery then progressed in leaps and bounds. One day he was sitting up, the next day he could stand and the day after that he could walk. Anthony was in hospital for six weeks.

Anthony is now back in the peaceful surrounds of his Mount Tamborine home. While he has come a long way in his recovery, he is not allowed to drive anything bigger than a vacuum cleaner until the nerve damage that affects his eyesight and his balance has completely healed.

Anthony and Stephanie are confident that he will make a full recovery but they recognise that it may still take some time.