Paralysed dad’s fury after being offered new home ... in a block of flats!

Keith Johnston was left paralysed after a road accident
Keith Johnston was left paralysed after a road accident
Have your say

A DAD paralysed from the chest down in a car accident has been left stunned after council bosses offered him a new home in a multi-storey block of flats.

Keith Johnston, 41, from Red House, was returning home after a fishing trip in Cumbria when his car skidded on ice and left the road.

After plunging into a ditch, the Renault Scenic ploughed through a wall and rolled over up to 20 times down a hill.

The dad of three was left trapped with a severed spine while his passengers rushed to get help.

A GP was driving past and provided vital help to keep the building worker alive.

Now, four months after the smash which left him on a life support machine for more than a month and paralysed from the chest down, Keith is set to be discharged from hospital and is looking forward to an emotional reunion with his partner Christine Jopling, 31, and daughters Emily, two, Fay, three, and Stephanie, 13.

However, his release date has been delayed until Sunderland City Council can find him an appropriate property.

“I was told I could leave hospital as soon as my treatment was over, but I can’t until I’ve got somewhere to go,” he said.

“I couldn’t believe it when they offered me a place in a multi-storey. I’m confined to a wheelchair and I can barely move.

“They told me it had a lift, but that’s no real answer. How many lifts in flats actually work anyway?”

Although his four pals escaped the crash with cuts and bruises, Keith had to be cut from the wreckage and airlifted to hospital.

After being stabilised by medics in Cumbria, he underwent surgery at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and further treatment at a specialist unit at James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough.

“I can’t wait to be with my family again,” he said. “I miss them so much. It’s hard for them to get to Middlesbrough and I’ve been in hospital so long. The staff here are great, but I really want to go home.

“But I’m pretty much stuck until I can find somewhere appropriate to live.

“My old house just isn’t equipped to deal with my requirements and everything needs to be in place before I can be discharged.”

Coun Graeme Miller, Sunderland City Council’s portfolio holder for health, housing and adult services, said the local authority was doing all it could to find Keith new accommodation.

“Sunderland City Council’s Access to Housing Team is working with Mr Johnston and hospital support staff to try and find him suitable accommodation,” he said.

“We have discussed the possible options available to Mr Johnston, which includes, but not exclusively, a flat in a multi-storey block, but Mr Johnston declined to discuss this possible option any further.

“Due to his complex personal circumstances, Mr Johnston requires accommodation which is heavily adapted and at this time there is no existing accommodation available which fully suits his own specific needs.

“We will continue to work with Mr Johnston and hospital support staff and in the first instance, we may need to consider a temporary arrangement which will enable him to leave hospital and re-join the community while we assess his longer term housing needs.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho