Hero nurse who lost leg saving baby returns to hospital to thank staff who saved her life

Last August, Ruby Flangan was walking with her six-month-old son, Leon, when she was crushed between two cars in Wallasey.

Ruby Flangan, a nurse at Arrowe Park Hospital in the Wirral, was carrying her son Leon in his car seat over a zebra crossing when she was caught between a Mercedes and a Volkswagen.

The hero mum, who had been shopping at the Aldi store in Bidson Moss Retail Park, was able to throw the six-month-old out of harm’s way - saving his life.

Sign up to our LiverpoolWorld Today newsletter

However, due to the severity of her injuries, she was taken to the Major Trauma Centre (MTC) in Aintree for emergency surgery to amputate her right leg and have her pelvis and left leg reconstructed.

The 25-year-old spent three months in Aintree University Hospital and had nine operations during her stay.

Major Trauma Nurse Practitioner John Fletcher, Major Trauma Lead Physiotherapist Emily Dixon, Major Trauma Lead Occupational Therapist Nicola Hiorns, Ruby Flanagan and son Leon, Major Trauma Nurse Practitioner Calum Edge, Day One Trauma Support Caseworkers, Gill Evans and Berenice Bradley (Credit: Connor Moore)

Ruby has now returned to thank the staff who saved her life as the centre celebrates its 10th anniversary.

She said: “It was horrible to be on the other side – I am so used to being the one providing care, so to be a patient was so difficult.

“From the moment I was brought in, all of the staff at the Major Trauma Centre were amazing, going above and beyond for me. I really felt like I was part of a family, part of the team.”

“Being there for three months I naturally grew so close to everyone, and I think that really helped me on my road to recovery as they pushed me to do more, to get better.

“It felt like a safety net, knowing I could be looked after by these amazing people.”

Ruby Flanagan whilst in Aintree University Hospital

Ruby and her family were supported by Day One Trauma Support - a national charity that provides patients at the MTC with practical, emotional, and financial support.

The Trust only partnered with the charity in 2021, so Ruby was one of the first people to benefit from their support and advice.

The young mum has been continuing her rehabilitation at STEPS, a dedicated residential facility in Sheffield.

By the end of July, she hopes to have the stabilising cage around her left leg and the bar in her pelvis removed.

Ruby (centre) with staff from the Major Trauma Centre (Credit: Connor Moore)

She is now looking forward to getting her life back on track and making new memories with her son.

Shortly after the incident, a Go Fund Me page was set up to help raise money for Ruby and her partner Leon Clarke who would both be out of work due to the incident - the page raised £91,701.

She said: “There’s too many people to thank, but everyone from the public on the day of the accident, North West Air Ambulance and North West Ambulance Service, to staff at the MTC and Day One Trauma Support.

“I’ve blocked a lot of the accident out. It was so traumatic – I can’t describe how it felt – but by the end of my three months in hospital I felt ready to leave and continue my rehabilitation thanks to all the staff at Aintree.

Ruby with her son, Leon, in Aintree University Hospital

“Each week there’s a new thing I want to work on, whether it’s walking up and down the stairs with the baby or pushing myself to do something new. I feel like I am coming out the other side now.”

Ben Fischer, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, said: “When you have a life-changing injury that requires multiple operations, every second counts. At the Major Trauma Centre we are set up so that patients like Ruby can come straight here and receive the urgent care they need.”

Dr Róisín Cunningham, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Liverpool University Hospitals, said: “I’m continually amazed by patients like Ruby and what they can achieve and cope with.

“It’s about reaching a positive balance of motivation to move forward, but also acknowledging loss and allowing yourself to process what you may have experienced, especially for someone like Ruby, who had a particularly traumatic experience."

Across the decade, the MTC has grown considerably. It is now a 21 bedded ward supported by a full multi-disciplinary team, from Major Trauma nurse practitioners, physiotherapists, surgeons and clinical psychologists.

Looking to the future, urgent and emergency care at Aintree will only continue to improve.