In November 2014, Mirjam was hit by a motorbike which went through her legs. She has no memory of the accident and woke up after a month in the Royal London Hospital with no recollection of what had happened. It is thought that she was trying to cross the road when she was hit and flew 5 metres and banged her head. Mirjam sustained severe brain injuries, she fractured her neck, lower back and legs. Her left ankle sustained a compound fracture, and she had significant injuries to her right leg, which Professor Heidari and his team were able to save from amputation.
Professor Heidari was the first consultant to see Mirjam in hospital and she was also seen by neurosurgeons as her brain injury was one of the initial problems.
Once the brain injury had been stabilised, Professor Heidari operated multiple times on both Mirjam’s legs to fit first temporary and then permanent fixators to hold the fractures together. Mirjam stayed in hospital for 4 months and the permanent fixator remained on her legs for 9 months. When she came home from hospital, she could walk with a zimmer frame but couldn’t put weight on her left leg, so it was very difficult to move around.
A number of years on and following a long rehabilitation, Mirjam can now walk without a limp (if she wears sensible shoes) and has returned to professional oriental dancing. She advises patients with similar injuries: “Be patient because the recovery time is long, it takes years but in the end it is just mental strength you need to get through it. I think it requires a positive mental attitude to get your body to heal itself. Also, exercise is really important, proper diet and sleep. Get help from mental health professionals as I did, it really helps.”
Mirjam still has some chronic pain when she does too much or doesn’t rest enough during the day or do her regular exercises, which is normal with this type of serious injury.
She sums up her treatment with Professor Heidari: “Professor Heidari is a great man. I truly believe that if he hadn’t been my surgeon, I wouldn’t have my legs and I wouldn’t have recovered. It is not just his knowledge, but his personality too. He is really encouraging, genuine – really really good. He never told me what to do but he offered useful suggestions and was very supportive.”
Professor Heidari concludes: “Mirjam’s injuries were extremely serious and I am so pleased her dedication to her rehabilitation and recovery have allowed her to return to her career as a professional dancer.”
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