A DAD left paralysed after a horrific road accident today thanked the mystery passing doctor who gave him life-saving first aid at the scene.
Keith Johnston, 41, from Red House, Sunderland, 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 before eventually coming to a stop.
The dad of three, who was conscious throughout the ordeal, was left trapped with a severed spine while his passengers rushed to get help. By chance, a GP was driving past seconds after the horror 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 family.
“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for that doctor,” he said. “It was pure luck that he was driving past at the time and my friends managed to flag him down.
“I couldn’t move and I knew pretty much straight away I was paralysed.
“I was in total shock.
“This man saved my life, but I never managed to track him down to say thank you. Even the police had no contact details for him.”
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 Royal Victoria Infirmary and further treatment at a specialist unit at James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough.
“One of my friends said they could see my spine sticking out,” he said. “The pain was terrible. I was awake through it all. I thought it was never going to end.
“But I’m not going to feel sorry for myself. It’s a miracle I survived it and I’ve started to get some movement back in my arm. I’m lucky to be able to do what I can.”
However, Keith is now facing a race against time to find a suitable home for him and his partner Christine Jopling, 31, and daughters Emily, two, Fay, three, and Stephanie, 13.
His dad John, 76, also from Red House, said: “It’s a day I will never forget. All of our lives changed forever. We just can’t believe what has happened.
“We’re now trying to arrange a suitable home for him, but it isn’t easy. He will be paralysed for the rest of his life and in a wheelchair.
“We don’t seem to be getting any help whatsoever from the local support agencies.
“He should be out by now, but they can’t offer him a suitable rented property. We just hope everything is sorted out soon.”