A SEVERELY-injured man needed unique heart surgery after a road crash that killed a friend.
Alfie Kennedy’s family have praised the NHS after the 20-year-old was able to return to work at his family’s Floraline florist’s shop in Belper after being rescued from the wreckage of a car in June.
Relatives were told he was unlikely to survive wounds including a tear to the aorta – the main heart vessel – as well as injuries to his lungs, liver, kidneys and spine.
Alfie, 19 at the time, was getting lift in a Volkswagen Golf driven by Duffield bank manager Andrew Wood, 31, who died in the wreckage on the A6 at Allestree just after midnight on June 18.
Alfie’s aorta was repaired by fitting a stent – a metal sleeve. It was the first time the technique had been used for a crash victim.
After an inquest into the death of Mr Wood, Alfie’s father Steve Kennedy, 54, of Duffield, said they had been warned to expect the worst.
He said: “They said he would probably be dead within 12 hours. But the NHS was wonderful. He got everything he needed and more.
Alfie told the Derby inquest about the crash. He said: “He (Andrew) went round a corner quite fast and then the car skidded. It bounced off the kerb.
“I woke up in the car. I looked over at Andy. He had his head on the steering wheel and the horn was going.
“I had a big pain in my chest.”
PC David Pygott said visibility was good and there was no problem with the road surface. He added that the car hit a lamp-post at a speed of at least 48mph and the main impact was to the driver’s door. Mr Wood had not been wearing a seatbelt.
A post mortem examination found Mr Wood, of Town Street, suffered injuries including a fractured skull. He was the manager of the Co-operative bank in Duffield.
Derny and South Derbyshire Deputy Coroner Louise Pinder recorded a verdict of accidental death.
She said: “The speed was probably well in excess of 50mph.
“It had been raining and the road surface was wet. Both the speed and the conditions of the road contributed to the loss of control,” she added.
She passed her on condolences to Mr Wood’s brother, Peter, who travelled from Portsmouth for the Derby hearing on Friday.
Outside the court, Mr Wood, 34, said: “It is a tragic loss. He was the youngest of our family. To lose a child in any circumstances is terrible and so it is for my parents.”