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We always hope our customers will never be in the unfortunate position of having to make a claim with us however we spoke to Megan Lewis about her experience when she made a claim in May 2009 following a horse riding accident in China. Read her story below:
The problem with the lack of detailed maps in China is that it makes it difficult to venture far from the beaten track, and we have been invariably forced to follow the main roads. However, on the fateful Monday (27th April 2009), we were leaving the hills behind us and nearing the flatter grasslands of Inner Mongolia. This also meant that we were able to get off the main road and ride along lovely little earth tracks to the side, occasionally passing through little rural villages.Above is Li Jing riding the thin horse and leading Hei Feng for the first time.
We had already covered about 20 miles and only had another 8 miles or so to go. I was too relaxed and not concentrating when Zorbee (my horse) suddenly took fright and shot forward from beneath me – no doubt panicking more when I was taken by surprise and lost my balance. I was catapulted backwards onto my right shoulder and head. I have no recollection of hitting the deck, but suddenly realised to my surprise that I had not only fallen off and was on the ground, but had actually hurt myself – this is the first time in 50 years of riding that I have ever broken anything falling off a horse!
We carry a walkie-talkie, so Li Jing (my guide) had summoned the 4×4 within minutes, and luckily we were just coming to a town with a hospital, so it was not long before I was being X rayed. It showed up the snapped collarbone (which I had realised) and broken ribs (which I had not), but not the punctured lung. So I decided as there was little that could actually be done, it would be better to brave the 7 hour drive back to Beijing where there was likely to be better medical care.
The horses were settled in a nearby racecourse before we set off. Back in Beijing I initially went to the SOS International clinic, and then on Wednesday to a Chinese hospital where they diagnosed my punctured lung, before ending up in the excellent Beijing Family Hospital once I was sure the insurance was sorted.
I also realised the day after that I had a tender patch on my head where I must have landed – I have no doubt that my injuries would have been far more serious, even fatal, if I had not been wearing my Charles Owen ProII helmet.
This is me recuperating a couple of days after the accident and before I was admitted to Beijing United Family Hospital. Umpteen thanks to Ed for letting me move in while he was away, and to Kath Naday for sorting it all out at a time when I needed all the help I could get. As a couple of doctors commented, I look much better than my X rays demonstrated. The fabulous flowers and fruit are from well wishers including the Chinese Equestrian Association – and more arrived when I was in hospital! Many thanks to Wutzala, Kubi, Harry Tse, Xinlian and the rest of the crew.
You can see my right shoulder looks decidedly droopy due to snapped clavicle – it was a relief to get it pinned up a week later when the hospital/insurance had finally wrangled out whether I would be operated on in China or the UK. I was very well looked after before, during and after the op by the doctors and nurses at Beijing United, and would like to thank surgeon Dr Chen Hao Hui (surgeons can be called Dr in China) and his team for all their kindness.
The tube is draining blood from my punctured right lung into a little plastic box that had to follow me everywhere for a few days. The lung has been the biggest problem as it has meant I have not been allowed to fly home until receiving the all clear from doctors, insurance and airline – hence continual frustrating postponements. The latest is that as from next Tuesday I will no longer need a medic to accompany me on the flight with oxygen, so I can fly home then.
However my insurance company Sportscover Direct have been very helpful, and are paying for me to stay at the very comfortable Rosedale Hotel until I leave.
I was allowed to fly home without medical escort bearing oxygen! I was gutted to be told by the doctors that I would need at least 3 months to recover, but I must admit that I am still feeling decidedly fragile. I had VIP treatment for the whole journey with wheelchair laid on at the airports at either end, and an upgrade to Club class on my British Airways flight. Thanks to all the cabin crew on flight BA038 for spoiling me rotten!