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Marvel medics of the NHS saved my life after smash; MAYBE I'M NOT THE GUY I WAS, SAYS MIKE - BUT I'M STILL ALIVE.

Byline: LORNA HUGHES ECHO Reporter lorna.hughes@trinitymirror.com @lorna_hughes

A DRIVER who suffered horrific injuries after a Bentley smashed into him at a car wash - sending him flying into the air - has thanked the NHS medics who saved his life.

Mike Collins, 67, was left with eight broken ribs, nerve damage to his face, a damaged pancreas and his left ear had to be sewn back on after the crash in December, 2017.

He was in the operating theatre at Aintree University Hospital for eight hours followed by four days in intensive care.

He spent a total of 21/2 weeks in hospital before being nursed back to health by his partner Bernie Kearney, a nurse.

The PS60,000 high-powered car hit six other vehicles in total, writing them off, and Mike, a retired technology teacher at Cowley International College, believes being knocked into the air saved his life.

He also said he wouldn't be here today without the care he received at hospital.

The grandfather of six, from St Helens, said: "It was Christmas time and one of my sons lives in Leicester, so I was meant to be going down to see him and I remember I'd bought some beer.

"I was giving my car its Christmas wash to get it clean and the next thing I was knocked into the air.

"I was unconscious for a short period of time and when I woke up I was in a lot of pain. It took the ambulance about 20 minutes to arrive and I was asking the paramedics to 'put me out, just put me out.'.

"When I was in intensive care, one of the nurses didn't leave my side. He had a cotton wool bud and he would dip it in water and put it on my lips."

Father of three Mike, who also had a collapsed lung and a fractured skull, needed a blood transfusion in hospital and had to have his spleen removed.

At his lowest moments, he said he was convinced he was going to die - and was troubled by other recurring nightmares.

He said: "I used to play rugby and there was always a liniment smell. When I was in hospital I could smell it and I remember thinking 'that's embalming oil, I'm going to die.'.

"I started breathing quicker because I thought it would keep me alive.

"There were all kinds of hallucinations. I've got a mate who's got a shop and when the door opens there's a beep. I thought he had me in charge of security but the beeper kept going off and I was shouting at me to stop it.

"I remember lots of little things like that. It wasn't a pleasant time."

In August last year, car wash worker Paul Bordache, of Gladstone Street, St Helens, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Bordache, who did not have a licence in the UK or his home country of Romania, told Liverpool Crown Court he pressed the accelerator instead of the brake on the car.

He was jailed for 20 months. Mike - whose son Dan is a pharmacist at the Royal and Liverpool Women's - chose not to attend the court case while he was recovering from his injuries.

He was left with 39 screws and six plates holding his ribs together and still has no feeling in his top lip.

He was helping at the school parttime when the accident happened but has been unable to return to work since.

He now fundraises for Aintree Hospital's Major Trauma Ward through his golf club, Beacon Park Golf & Country Club.

He said: "I'll do anything for the National Health Service - they saved my life.

"My partner took a month off work to look after me. Without her and the doctors and nurses I'd be dead, no doubt about it.

"My face is still numb and I dribble. When I shaved I was constantly nicking my skin with the razor so I've grown a little goatee beard.

"I'm not the guy I was but I'm alive."

CAPTION(S):

Mike Collins now helps raise money and blood donations for the Major Trauma Centre at Aintree Hospital, where he was treated; and, right, serious facial injuries suffered by Mike in his car wash crash ordeal Main picture: ANDREW TEEBAY
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 17, 2019
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