Nurse left disabled after Kenyan car crash still waiting for compensation after five yearsBy Julie Spencer
November 27, 2012
A nurse disabled in a car crash in Kenya five years ago is still waiting for her compensation case to come to court.
The car in which Sheila McHale was a passenger crashed into unlit roadworks.
Delays in the Kenyan legal system mean she is relying on treatments at a beauty salon to keep her mobile while she waits for a cash settlement to fund proper care.
Sheila, of Crowthorne, had been on her way to a rural orphanage to hand over £800 she collected in the UK.
The crash in 2007 left her with a broken neck and serious head injuries and, in the chaotic aftermath of the accident, the cash was stolen.
Sheila is waiting for compensation to fund physiotherapy to keep her muscles mobile, but in the meantime has monthly massages at Jaks Hair & Beauty in Greenwood Road, Crowthorne.
Sheila said: “The compensation from Kenya will not be like I would receive in Britain and the best I am hoping for is having regular physiotherapy and to set up a house or bungalow, as I am told that eventually I will end up in a wheelchair.
“I go to Jaks for a massage to keep my muscles loose and the salon has been a godsend as they come to get me if I cannot get there myself.”
Kerry Vincent, owner of Jaks Hair & Beauty, said she was delighted her sport injury massages were keeping Sheila on her feet.
But she said: “It is something we should not be having to do. It should be done as part of her care package, but she is still waiting for a settlement.”
Since the accident, Sheila, who can only walk short distances, has visited the East African country for a medical examination as part of her compensation claim.
But a year on, the Kenyan doctor has yet to file his report.
Sheila, 58, added: “In Kenya a judge would want to question a doctor, so I had to be examined by a doctor there.
“A doctor from the UK would want £1,000 a day, plus hotels and flights, to accompany me to the trial, so it would cost £10,000 and more.”
Sheila, a former casualty nurse at Reading’s Royal Berkshire Hospital and nurse practitioner at the Slough NHS Walk-in Centre, said the accident had halted her plans to work for charity in East Africa.
She said: “Before the crash I had been working with Voluntary Service Overseas. I had contacted medical charities and had started studying for my tropical disease diploma.
“I was bitten by the African bug and would be working there if not for the accident.”
Sheila, who is classed as tetraplegic because she has limited use of both her hands and her legs, has a personal assistant to help her run her house but is unable to apply make-up or do her hair without assistance.
Her son Andrew married in June and staff from Jaks Hair & Beauty gave her a make-over to boost her confidence. Kerry added: “Sheila is a beautiful woman inside and out, and it was a pleasure to help someone so deserving.”