Consultant who flew back to Leeds for treatment after Switzerland skiing accident

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Lying still in the snow after falling while skiing in the Swiss Alps, Chris Hammond hoped he’d had a lucky escape from serious injury.

The hospital consultant, from Leeds, collided with a snow wall while on the slopes during his first day of his holiday to Switzerland’s Verbier ski resort in March.

“I was skiing on an easy slope and I just wasn’t concentrating,” the 47-year-old told the YEP.

“The left ski whipped around and snapped my leg.

“I wiggled my legs and knew something wasn’t right.”

The dad-of-two, a consultant vascular radiologist in Leeds, was taken down the mountain to a clinic. After seeing his own X-rays - which revealed a fractured tibia - his first thought was home.

“I phoned the on-call orthopaedic consultant at Leeds General Infirmary.

“I texted him my X-ray and he said ‘you want that fixing’ and went into a few details.

“Then he set everything in motion and told me to get myself home.”

Within two days, he was being looked over by colleagues at the LGI.

After assessments, he decided to opt for a specialist Ilizarov Frame to be fitted instead of plaster, giving patients more movement.

Now on the mend, he said while Swiss surgeons could likely have applied the frame, he wanted to do it in Leeds.

“I knew the orthopaedic consultants in Leeds,” he said.

“I had done work with them and I have a lot of respect for what they do and value their opinions. I’m sure the Swiss are just as good but that personal relationship and trust is really important.”

Dr Hammond is sharing his recovery through injury as part of the YEP’s We Love Our NHS campaign, which aims to praise the region’s hardworking - and often unsung - healthcare staff in the run up to the NHS’ 70th anniversary.

He said the care he’s had - as a patient at his own NHS trust - had been exemplary.

“The whole experience has been really positive for me, when it could have been awful,” he said.

“I can’t fault it at all. Everyone has been caring and I have been really impressed.”