The grate escape: Retired nurse, 66, has brush with death after tripping up and impaling her neck on fire basket spike
- Sheila Manley was entertaining friends at her home in Monkmoor, Shrewsbury
- The iron spike from the basket pierced her chest just above her collarbone
- Fire crews worked for three hours to cut her free before she could go to hospital
Sheila Manley, 66, was entertaining friends when she tripped and fell on to an iron log basket they were using as a fire pit
When Sheila Manley tripped on her patio and ended up impaled through her neckline on a metal fire grate, she thought she was going to die.
But the divorcee told yesterday how doctors saved her life – not once, but twice – following the freak accident, and praised the dozens of emergency workers who helped with her miraculous escape.
Mrs Manley, 66, was entertaining friends at her terrace home last month when she tripped on a paving slab and fell forward on to an iron log basket they were using as a fire pit.
An iron spike from the basket pierced her chest just above her collarbone, running across her neckline and pushing up against the skin of her shoulder on the other side of her body.
Yesterday, the retired psychiatric nurse told how fire crews worked for three hours to cut the rest of the metal basket away from her body while paramedics sedated her.
She was then taken to a regional trauma unit under a police escort, where the iron bar was eventually removed by medical professionals.
A few days later, as she recovered at the Royal Stoke University Hospital, Mrs Manley collapsed with what proved to be blood clots on her lung.
Her x-ray shows how the iron spike from the basket pierced her chest just above her collarbone, running across her neckline and pushing up against the skin of her shoulder on the other side of her body
The pensioner, who lives with her son, Russell Corvers in Monkmoor, Shrewsbury, said: ‘They saved my life not once, but twice.
‘When the bar went into my body I thought I was a goner and so did Russell,’ she said.
‘I was begging him to lift me off it but of course he couldn’t, and I’m rather glad that he didn’t! I don’t remember too much about what happened from there. I was given so much oxygen that I started to hallucinate and I was eventually sedated.’
She added: ‘I just want to publicly thank all the emergency services who came to my rescue. There were three ambulances and the helicopter at my house, the police even closed the road off.
‘Everybody from the paramedics to the hospital porters have been absolutely brilliant. I’m so lucky.’
Fire crews worked for three hours to cut the rest of the metal basket away from her body while paramedics sedated her
Mrs Manley believes the air ambulance was dispatched to another job while firefighters were trying to free her from the iron basket.
She was released from hospital last Saturday – September 7 – 13 days after the horrifying accident at her home.
She has been left with nerve damage to her left arm and shoulder and struggles to dress or apply her make-up, but is just thankful to be alive.
She added: ‘The basket usually stores logs for the inglenook fireplace but we’d taken it outside to use as a fire pit.
‘Thank God we hadn’t lit a fire when I fell on to it!
‘When I came around in hospital the surgeon who operated on me came over to say hello. She said: ‘You won’t remember me but I won’t forget you in a hurry.’
Mrs Manley said: ‘The bar went right across my neck but missed all vital organs. They told me that if it had gone in a fraction either side it could have hit all sorts.’
Mr Corvers, a 39-year-old maintenance worker, said: ‘Mum gave me a hell of a fright. I was upstairs and heard a lot of shouting.
‘I couldn’t believe what I was looking at when I went outside. She was asking me to pull her off it but I dialled 999 immediately.’
He added of his mother: ‘She’s had a very lucky escape.’