November 29th 2014 is a day that Ron Kinsey, and his wife Margaret, will always remember, for all the wrong reasons.
Keen walkers Ron and Margaret decided to spend their Saturday morning doing a coastal walk along Beachley Point, just three miles from their home in Chepstow, before heading home to watch the Wales v South Africa Rugby match that afternoon.
Along their route, they didn’t notice that part of the coastal path had washed away from recent heavy rainfall, and seconds later Margaret helplessly watched as her husband slipped and plummeted 20 feet off the cliff, landing on the rocky beach below.
Ron was breathing but in a critical state. Within 4 minutes, first responders were on the scene and Ron was surrounded by paramedics, the Hazardous Area Response Team, firefighters and the SARA Mountain Rescue Team, who realised the severity of Ron’s state, and called the GWAAC Critical Care Team.
Our Critical Care Doctor and Specialist Paramedic in Critical Care arrived on scene promptly. With a fractured coccyx, cuts to his face and head, a fractured cheek bone and more seriously, bleeding on the brain, Ron was sedated at the scene and airlifted directly to the major trauma centre in Bristol, where he was to spend 8 weeks in intensive care, and a total of 14 weeks in hospital before he was allowed home.
Ron began showing signs of movement after 11 days in the hospital, opening his eyes and wiggling his toes, however his mobility was severely impaired and he had lost the ability to swallow, which meant he had to be fitted with a PEG feeding tube.
Since June 2017, Ron has been able to eat normally, and he and Margaret have both enjoyed all sorts of days out, from cafes, pub gardens, tourist sites and mountain paths.
“It took us a while to get used to the situation and work out a new pattern of daily living – but we got there,” Margaret said.
“We have nothing but praise for the rescue services. And in the rugby match Wales beat South Africa 12 – 6, the first win for 15 years. I’m still not sure whether to forgive Ron for the inability to watch it!”