Easter break warning from road trauma survivor
Graham Arkle was driving an eight-tonne army vehicle to an exhibition in March when a b-double crashed into the back of him on the Hume Freeway near Glenrowan.
“I couldn’t work out what had made my vehicle launch into the air. It was twisting as it left the road and I realised something had hit me, and I was eventually flung out,” said the 54-year-old.
The vehicle rolled onto one of Graham’s legs, shattering the bones. Among other serious injuries, he also sustained breaks to five vertebrae. He was airlifted to The Alfred, where trauma and surgery teams provided initial care before Graham was transferred to the intensive care unit.
Graham remembers being able to communicate briefly with his children.
“I told them this is out of my control. I will fight with every fibre I’ve got, but this may be the last time you see me.”
Intensive Care Consultant Dr Maurice Le Guen said Graham’s brain was cleared of damage and the major concern was his severe leg injuries. More than a week later, he was well enough to be transferred to a ward.
“We see patients at the most critical juncture of their care, and it’s really rewarding to see Graham today looking much more like the person I had imagined him to be if I met him on the street – it’s great to see him awake and talking,” Dr Le Guen said.
Graham’s positivity has helped see him through very painful surgeries to save his leg, but many months of recovery lie ahead. He wants all drivers to remember it’s not worth taking a risk to get to a destination faster at the expense of your life, or the lives of others.
Dr Maurice Le Guen says he hopes Graham’s story will resonate with road users this Easter break.
“Going back to the first meeting with Graham’s family there was so much love. If we keep all the love our family and friends have for us front of mind, a lot of the risks that are taken on the road wouldn’t be.”
Emergency and Trauma Physician at The Alfred, Dr Helen Stergiou, says she’s concerned about Victoria’s high road toll this year.
"We all wake up each morning hoping it will be a good day. Keep it that way for you and your family. Drive safely and ride safely during the upcoming holiday period – we all deserve to reach our destinations safely."