‘My leg was left hanging off after a horror crash and my life changed forever’

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Former bus driver Nicholas Barrat from Birmingham tells us about a horror road collision that changed his life forever

A man whose leg was left ''hanging off'' his body in a horror moped crash says he has fought for ten years - not to have it amputated.  

Nicholas Barrat, 54, has faced a decade of gruelling rehab, excruciating pain and countless surgeries. The former bus driver from Birmingham was riding his Vespa in 2013 when a driving instructor's car suddenly pulled out in front of him.  

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Left with no time to avoid the vehicle he hit it and went straight over the roof convinced he was about to die. Both his tibia and fibula had been shattered as well as his left ankle which was broken into three pieces. He says he was told days after the crash doctors might have to amputate - but he said no.

Today he remains in constant pain and lives almost entirely off a compensation payout. And after countless years of treatment Nicholas was scheduled to have his leg amputated in June 2020.

He was told that his leg would never regain full movement and remain in constant pain for the rest of his life. But as the operation date approached Nicholas had a change of heart and said no again.

He said: "Once you have it chopped off it's gone. I got measured up for prosthetic limbs and everything, it was all prepared but I just thought it's still better to have two limbs than one. Plus you have to have different legs for different things, I would have to change my leg to go outside, to shower, etc."

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Former Birmingham bus driver Nichoas Barrat tells of a horror road collision that changed his life foreverFormer Birmingham bus driver Nichoas Barrat tells of a horror road collision that changed his life forever
Former Birmingham bus driver Nichoas Barrat tells of a horror road collision that changed his life forever | SWNS

Speaking about the accident, Nicholas said: ''I thought that was it for me but then remembered landing on the floor and two women stopped and came over. “My arm was really hurting, but when I looked at it I thought it didn’t look too bad. But then I looked down and my left leg was hanging off.” 

Nicholas was blue lighted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital trauma unit and put under anaesthetic before surgeons began an operation to put a stabilising cage on his leg to try and save it.  Nicholas said: “I woke up the second night and was told by doctors they may have to amputate, I basically fought to say no, I wanted to keep my leg at all costs. I was on the same ward as soldiers who had been blown up in Afghanistan, it was crazy.” 

Nicholas was in hospital for five weeks, after which he was due to be sent home. But in focusing so much on his leg, they hadn’t worked on his shattered elbow on his left arm, so kept him in for three more weeks. 

Nicholas said: “By the time they'd sorted that out it was too late, my arm was knackered, all the strength was gone.” Nicholas was eventually let go at work, leaving him unemployed and he then had a split with his fiance. He says  £1.1 million compensation was eventually paid out to him in May 2022 after a civil lawsuit with the driving instruction company.

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According to Nicholas one doctor told him he'd end up in a wheelchair eventually if he didn't get his leg amputated as the leg will slowly lose all its movement but he is determined to prove them wrong. 

Once Nicholas was finally paid the compensation money, some old faces got back in touch asking for money, he claims. Nicholas said: “I had people starting businesses and was lending them £20,000, but now they aren’t paying me back. 

“I am struggling a bit now. My left shin is so tender I can’t wear trousers, I’m in constant pain. I was on 35 tablets a day, including tramadol and codeine but one day I just got sick of it and stopped taking them. I can’t find a new job, I’ve been a driver my whole life as a courier or bus driver but now I can only drive for 20 minutes maximum before my leg starts to hurt.” 

Nicholas was very active prior to the accident, having been a semi pro footballer in his youth but is now permanently disabled. He has recently moved to a mobile home site in the country with more peace and quiet to try and reset his life. “What’s happened to me has been awful, but some people have it far worse,” he said.

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