By Mitchell Clarke
A prominent local identity has been left “severely injured” after an uneven council footpath caused her to be flung from her wheelchair.
The 92-year-old woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was on her to way to Australia Day celebrations at Lakeside on Sunday 26 January when her wheelchair tipped.
As a result, the elderly woman fell from her chair, just 30 centimetres from the road near Waterford Rise and St Leonard Way in Pakenham.
The estimated 40 millimetre drop between pavements coinciding with the force of the fall left the victim with a serious head wound, five fractured ribs and a fractured sternum.
Her injuries have left her struggling to oxygenate and she’s been placed in ICU at Dandenong Hospital where she’s being monitored to avoid getting pneumonia.
“She’s been very confused, she’s quite distressed obviously, distressed because she’s confused, she doesn’t know where she is and doesn’t remember what happened,” her daughter said.
Once released from ICU, the woman will remain in hospital where she faces a long and difficult rehabilitation process.
She’ll also require plastic surgery on her forehead to repair the wound.
Doctors are yet to give the family an approximate release date, with her daughter telling the Gazette she’ll remain in hospital as long as she needs to.
“She’ll probably be in there until the fractures heal,” she said.
“It’s quite difficult to watch, because I organised for her to come and celebrate the event and then this happens.
“My mother didn’t get to celebrate Australia Day and enjoy this great community event.”
The family is now urging Cardinia Shire Council to immediately fix the path and has warned them it’s only a matter of time until somebody sues them.
“I’m very torn because my first instinct is that somebody’s got to be held responsible for this,” she said.
“We have a very good relationship with the council and it’s difficult because I have to wear two hats.
“At the end of the day, my family comes first and I have to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
A Cardinia Shire Council spokesperson said: “Council is aware of this and the matter is currently under investigation.”