A man left paralysed after he suffered a freak injury on a ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach has beaten the odds to survive emergency surgery, his family said today.
Doctors told the family of Robert Sycamore, 58, there was just a five per cent chance he would make it through a vital procedure to restore his breathing and circulation.
But his nephew, Darren Parlour, today told of the family’s relief after Mr Sycamore – who was on the Grand National ride when he broke his neck in the incident – came round following more than 12 hours in surgery.
He is now in a stable condition and breathing unaided.
Mr Parlour, 48, said: “The hospital staff didn’t give up on us when the odds were against us, and carried not just Rob, but the whole family through those first dark hours. They managed to stabilise his breathing and his heart, which is now beating on its own.
“He is conscious and has been able to speak a little bit – he has asked me personally to thank all the medical staff for his treatment so far.”
Mr Sycamore was visiting from his home in Ipswich, and had gone on the Grand National – his first ride of the day – with his great-nephew Harry Parlour, 13, last Friday.
The family says it is still unclear how he came to break his neck, although the Pleasure Beach has said there were no faults on the famous and historic ride.
Mr Sycamore is known to suffer from spondylitus, inflammation of the vertebrae in the back, but his nephew said there was no reason to suspect he was not fit to go on the ride.
Mr Parlour added: “Rob had been on rides before.”
The family of Mr Sycamore today thanked the medics who saved his life.
Mr Parlour added: “The level of care is beyond what could be dreamed of let alone expected.
“Rob’s injuries were life-threatening and initially he had a slim chance of surviving.
“At that time we were a long way from home – scared, confused and traumatised – but the compassion and help given to us all made so much difference.”
He said he was amazed by the response he has received since the story broke in The Gazette on Tuesday.
“Now we are getting answers,” he added. “I would like to thank The Gazette for telling our story.”