“He struck me in the chest and lifted me up in the air” – farm accident survivor


Ann Doherty, Co. Kilkenny says she is “lucky to be alive” after suffering a traumatic attack by a bull.

In this video – produced by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) – the Kilkenny mother describes the encounter which occurred one evening in July-2010.

Ann and her three daughters (aged 4,6 and 8) were travelling on a narrow country road in close proximity to their family home when cattle were blocking their path; they had broken out of a field.

Ann pulled in, alerted traffic with her hazard warning lights and contacted Liam – her husband.

“Liam turned back the animals; there was a corner that I couldn’t quite see them, so I had to wait for him to tell me when I could open the gate.” Ann Doherty explained.

“I remember opening the twine, holding the gate and going a few steps into the field. I couldn’t see that there was an animal; I thought they had all come out onto the road through the gap.”

The incident

After spotting a bull in the field, Ann turned to exit the field to return to her three daughters in the car.

“I kind of felt and heard the hooves coming for me more than anything else. He came for me, face on. He struck me in the chest and lifted me up in the air and I landed back down on the ground.” She explained.

“I knew I was in trouble. I was hurt, I was so conscious of the children being there, I said I have to get back out of here because if he gets a second pop at me, that could be it.”

The bull “took a few steps back” and Ann crawled out onto the road on her hands and knees. At this stage, the heifers were returning to the field, which distracted the bull.

“Ann was on the ground when I arrived. I heard her say “The bull got me” as the cattle were going in the gate. The bull followed the heifers on a small distance, but he was still hanging around.” Liam explained.

“I didn’t go straight to the hospital because it was going on the evening; I didn’t want to be upsetting them [her children].”

After the accident

Ann - who visited the hospital the following day - had a fractured sternum, three cracked ribs and a fractured left thumb.

She said she was very sensitive to noise, was nervous crossing roads, suffered intense pain and attended a number of counselling sessions.

She experienced a lot of pain in her back, pelvis, coccyx bone and neck but returned to her part-time role in a pharmacy.

Three years ago, the Kilkenny mother ruptured disks in her lower back and experienced severe pain. “I was flat for six months at the time. For a long time, Liam had to help me get dressed or have a shower or that; I hadn’t much use for my back.”

Ann also developed Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) and is now taking medication to elevate the pain threshold and is using morphine patches.

“There are a lot of things of things that you have to stop and think about. It’s something that happened to once, but the re-repercussions stay with you. I know I’m so lucky to be alive.”

Advice

The HSA wishes to remind every farmer that dangerous animals are never worth the risk and one can never be too safe when it comes to bulls - always beware of risks with livestock.

Image source: HSA

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