A BRITISH tradesman fears it will be years before he can walk again after his legs were crushed by an alleged drink driver in Spain, causing one to be amputated.
Gary Doggett, 55, was working in Torrevieja on the Costa Orihuela with his son and another employee when a Spanish driver ploughed into him from behind, pinning him against the back of his van.
Gary was rushed to hospital where he endured eight hours of surgery, however neither he nor his family members were warned that his right leg was being amputated from below the knee.
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The father-of-two has been forced to close his glass curtains business, telling the Olive Press that he believes it will be up to two years before he will be ‘back on my feet’.
He said: “It’s terrible really, my job is very physical and I was always busy doing something, like pottering in the garden or walking the dogs, he’s really f····ed me up, is one way of putting it.”
The much-loved businessman, originally from Brecon, in Wales, said it was a shock to his wife Carol to see him with one leg, after she had simply been told he had ‘made it out of surgery alive’.
He added: “I woke up and saw one leg was missing, but to be honest I just thought ‘at least it’s only one of them’.”
The life-changing injuries have left Gary, who moved to Spain 16 years ago, with no option but to close his glass curtain business, leaving him and his own son out of work.
His daughter Chloe has started a GoFundMe page to help out with rehabilitation costs, which has received more than 30,000 euros so far.
Recalling the day of the incident, Gary said: “To be honest I knew it was bad when I saw bits of my own bones underneath the van after the crash.
“My son and colleague tried to cover me with blankets but I really thought I was going to lose both of my legs.”
Gary said he was loading materials into his van while working on a golf resort on June 30 this year, when the vehicle smashed into the back of him.
“It was 11am, he had been drinking and had no insurance, my legs took the full impact,” he recalled, adding that he was conscious until he arrived at hospital.
“I remember being taken in for X-rays but that’s the last thing I remember until I came around from surgery.”
The driver had not been wearing a seatbelt and was ‘semi-conscious’ following the crash, having hit his head against the windscreen, Gary said.
Gary has complete knee reconstruction surgery in around four weeks time, and believes it will be another 18 months to two years before he is back on his feet.
In the GoFundME appeal, his daughter Chloe said: “When my dad finally came around he was alone and had to find out himself by looking down at the bed, there was no one there to explain!”
Chloe said that after 13 days in the local hospital, her father was taken to Valencia Hospital some two-and-a-half hours away from his home.
She added: “A further two fractured vertebrae in the lower back were found, two weeks after the accident.”
He spent more than a month in hospital due to a serious infection in his left leg, which delayed the realignment of his foot and tibia.
She explained: “It is estimated that the tibia will take approximately 12 months to heal before he can even look at having a prosthetic leg fitted – let alone the physiotherapy to use it.
“He will need to have many more surgeries within this time including a number of skin grafts on both his stump and left leg.
“The road to recovery will be long and tough for my dad, leaving him with financial worries on top of everything else!
“He will need medical equipment and the house will need major alterations before he can even come home. Due to the driver being uninsured, there will also be lawyer fees.”
Chloe added: “My one year old twins are learning to walk, and it breaks my heart that my strong, amazing dad has to one day learn to walk all over again!
“But I know with his unbelievable inner strength and determination, he will one day walk me down the aisle on my wedding day.”
The driver has been charged for driving without a licence and no insurance.
The family said further criminal charges may come in the future once the full scope of the damage caused to Gary is known.