A seven hour operation performed at Bassetlaw Hospital has saved a lucky woman from paralysis - after she broke her back falling down the stairs.
Natalie Morris, aged 26, had to undergo the drastic operation to stabilise her spine and insert metal rods after she tumbled down steep stairs at her terraced home in Swinton, Rotherham.
Doctors were amazed she could still walk after the fall smashed her T-12 vertebrae, at the bottom of the back.
Natalie, who is still recovering at home, said: “My surgeon told me I was a hair’s breadth away from being paralysed – the break that I did was crazy.”
“He said it made his toes curl and he didn’t know how on earth I was walking. I am very lucky.”
“The T-12 vertebrae is where you do all your bending and moving for things like putting your shoes on.”
“The way I’d fallen it had basically burst and all the ligaments around it had been damaged.”
“A doctor who saw me after the fall said he had seen a man who was the same age and had the same accident, but he had to go to the Royal Hallamshire because he’ll never walk again.”
Natalie fell after missing her footing as she went to the toilet in the early hours of the morning.
She was able to crawl from the bottom of the 12-step staircase to call the emergency services.
But the true extent of her injuries was only later revealed by hospital scans.
Just two days after the operation, led by consultant orthopaedic surgeon Ranjit Pande at Bassetlaw Hospital, Worksop, the sales support manager was able to take her first steps.
A scar now runs the whole length of Natalie’s back and she has also had to undergo a bone graft from her pelvis.
Now she is organising a fundraising event to thank the hospital and Mr Pande.
She said: “People believed I’d be out for months after the operation. I had a district nurse come out one day a week and I’ve had painkillers and things, but now I can do everything more or less for myself.”