By Mitchell Clarke
A Pakenham Upper couple involved in a horror overseas accident, which left them fighting for life, have defied the odds and are on their road to recovery.
Lorna and Richard Hogg were on the trip of a lifetime through Northern Italy in late September when they were involved in a serious motorbike accident after a tractor towing a cattle trailer overturned and landed on the couple, crushing the pair against a cliff.
Transported to an Austrian hospital, their legs and pelvis were crushed and both received broken ribs and ruptured spleens. As a result, Lorna’s leg was amputated while Richard suffered a ruptured aorta and a stroke.
Initially, doctors thought the worst and family members from Australia flew to Austria to be by their bedside, expected to stay overseas for up to six months.
But remarkably, after almost two months, slight improvements meant the pair was able to be transported home on 10 November, after the insurance company organised a private medical jet with two ICU doctors, two ICU nurses and three pilots.
The couple remain in a stable condition in The Alfred hospital where they’ve settled in for the long stay.
Son Paul Hogg told the Gazette bringing his parents home was a “process” but ultimately relieving.
“It was a process getting them home due to Dad being so unstable,” he said.
“It was touch and go for a while whether they were coming home or not with the injuries they had received and then the complications that came with those injuries.
“When they reinduced him into a coma, he was stable enough to fly home and from there it all happened suddenly.“
The family were expecting to remain in Austria for Christmas and if Richard wasn’t put back into a coma, the Hogg’s would likely spend the new year overseas.
“Having them come home was a huge relief to us all,” Paul added.
“It’s awesome for them to be home for Christmas. It was going to be pretty upsetting to be so far away from family and friends.”
Since arriving home, Richard has woken from the coma and had minor surgery but is continuing to improve daily.
Meanwhile, Lorna is doing “really well” and is in the process of moving to a rehab facility in Caulfield.
“Looking at their health long term, we can’t look too far into the future as we still don’t know the extent of Dad’s stroke,” Paul said.
“So we’re really just taking it as it comes but coming home has been the best medicine for them both.”
The Hogg family have thanked everyone for the “ongoing love and support” and said it was “truly amazing” to see the entire community reaching out to help.