NSLHD Year in Review 2020

In one month 16-year-old Natalia Mattar was in theatre 10 times at Royal North Shore Hospital following a buggy accident. RNSH patient inspired by nurses following accident

The high school student recovered at the hospital’s child and adolescent ward from the accident which saw the buggy she was driving roll over trapping her hand underneath. She was flown from Bathurst to Royal North Shore Hospital for urgent surgery. “At first I thought I just had a nosebleed, but my hand actually de-gloved and I had a compound wrist fracture, my index finger needed to be amputated and pins were put into my hand,” Natalia said. “My cousin and dad actually offered to give me their index fingers, but the doctor said they couldn’t do that and I don’t think I would want my dad’s finger on my hand.” Natalia has had skin grafts from the top of her thigh to cover up the skin lost on her hand, as well a nerve next to her Achilles moved to her hand to help with movement. “The new skin on my hand will grow hair like it had on her legs, so I’ll have to get laser hair removal,” she laughed. At 16 years of age, Natalia was due to get her P plates in a few months, which her doctor has said is still possible. “I’m looking at the positives and I feel really lucky considering I said on the way to the hospital that I just didn’t want to lose my hand,” she said.

“One of the nurses came in and when she found out about my finger being amputated she started crying with me.” Nurse Unit Manager of the child and adolescent ward Claire Blackburn said Natalia brightened up the ward. “The way Natalia dealt with her injury in such a strong and positive way shows what an impressive woman she is,” she said. “She’s been an amazing patient, bringing lots of laughs to the ward and always with a smile on her face.”

“And I’ve been told I can get back to playing netball in about 12 months.” The year 11 student said she thought she wanted to study teaching after school, but since being in hospital the nurses in the ward have inspired her to look into a career as a nurse. “The nurses are amazing. I haven’t even had all of them looking after me and I’m friends with them all. They are very sweet and genuinely take care of me,” she said.

RNSH patient Natalia with nurses in the child and adolescent ward

Natalia was in theatre 10 times


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