Man thanks Wigan NHS for treatment with symbolic tree planting

A man who suffered a life-changing injury has thanked the NHS for his treatment with a heartfelt symbolic gesture.
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A man who suffered a life-changing injury has thanked the NHS for his treatment with a heartfelt symbolic gesture.

Handyman Quinton Smith was working up a ladder when he slipped and fell to the ground from around 10ft, causing an injury to his arm that was so serious, doctors briefly considered amputating it.

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Quinton’s arm was saved, and he was lucky to avoid any other serious injury from the terrifying fall.

Quinton SmithQuinton Smith
Quinton Smith

The 59-year-old, from Atherton, was humbled by the quality of care he received during his short hospital stay, particularly considering the re-emerging priority of Covid-19 cases.

As a small gesture of thanks to the NHS, Quinton planted a holly bush in a park as a symbol of “replacing the oxygen” he was given for pain relief during his recovery.

Quinton said: “I suffered a catastrophic compound fracture in my elbow. The prognosis at the time was ‘cut it off at the shoulder’, which is not what you want to hear!

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“Or they could fuse ie straight, or do the best they could to fix me up. The expectation was that I would lose up to 80% use of my arm.”

Fortunately, Quinton is now confident of gaining full mobility back, thanks to the efforts of the NHS staff who treated him in rapid time.

“They made a phenomenal effort,” he said.

“I’ve seen the pictures of the injury, and seen the X-rays. I can see the work they’ve done.

“I was admitted on the Thursday night, and on Saturday afternoon I was discharged. I was expecting to be in hospital for at least a week.”

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After several days of resting up, Quinton’s thoughts turned to how he could possibly thank the health service for his care.

“What they did for me was second to none,” he said.

“There was nothing that was too much trouble for anybody. I thought, ‘what can I do to thank them?’”

Quinton placed two holly bushes, which are evergreen, in Blue Bell Park, in Bolton Old Road, Atherton, close to where he grew up and from where his family hails.

He said: “I see it as giving back the oxygen I was given in hospital.”

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“Last year I planted six oak trees at Lilford Park. It has a weird, feel-good factor. So that’s why this idea popped into my head.”

He added: “I’ve dedicated it to all the NHS staff. The porters, the cleaners, the auxiliaries, the nurses, the surgeons, everyone.

“It was my first time in hospital since having my tonsils taken out! They were like a well-oiled machine.

“I could not explain how they made me feel.”

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