Teenager paralysed by freak accident after dog pulled cushion away as he lay on sofa

·3 min read

A teenager has been left paralysed from the neck down after a freak accident while playing with his dogs on the sofa.

Harvey Leyland, 17, from Wigan, Greater Manchester, fell on his head while playing with his dogs, Hugo and Charlie, in July.

British bulldog Hugo pulled away a cushion from the sofa that Harvey was lying on, causing the teen to fall and land on the tiled floor head first.

He managed to make his way upstairs to rest after the fall but suffered a seizure moments later and was discovered by his older brother Bradley, before his mother Angela’s partner Phil called for an ambulance.

In the seven minutes it took an ambulance to arrive, Harvey began struggling to breathe and was unable to communicate.

After being taken to the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan, he was placed in an induced coma to relieve the pressure on his body.

He remained in a coma for four days, during which he was transferred to the spinal unit at Salford Royal Hospital.

An MRI scan found that Harvey had suffered two mini strokes and one spinal stroke which resulted in injury to his vertebrae.

Before the accident, Harvey had been a very active teenager who loved horses and was often at his local stables, but he is now unable to move without a wheelchair which he operates with his chin.

Harvey Leyland, left, with his brother, Bradley, and their two dogs (Picture: Caters)
Harvey Leyland, left, with his brother, Bradley, and their two dogs (Picture: Caters)

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His mother, Angela, 57, has been told the family home is unsuitable for his medical needs so has launched a fundraising drive on Go Fund Me to pay for the necessary renovations that will allow him to return from hospital.

“I still feel like I’m in limbo,” she said. “To see your child go from running around and being active to this is heartbreaking.

“Harvey just wants to come home and I’m desperate to make that happen. I just want my son back.”

For the first few weeks after the accident, Harvey was unable to eat, drink or talk by himself.

Angela said: “I remember the first time he spoke to us after the accident. Nurses removed his tube and he said hello to the whole family. I broke down in tears of joy.

Harvey Leyland, right, with his mother's partner, Phil. (Picture: Caters)
Harvey Leyland, right, with his mother's partner, Phil. (Picture: Caters)

“I thought he would start improving in other areas too, that everything would go back to normal.

“So to be told that he would be paralysed for life was another blow.”

Despite showing slight improvements, at the start of August, Harvey’s body began to reject his catheter. The area became infected and his body went into septic shock.

“I thought we were going to lose him,” his mother said. “It was the worst feeling, I was terrified.”

Harvey has since been moved to Southport, where he remains under observation and receives regular physiotherapy. Four weeks ago, he regained the ability to move his right index finger.

It gave the family new hope, but after further tests, doctors couldn’t find any signals going to the nerves in the left side of his body or legs and believe he’ll never regain the ability to move.

Harvey is due to remain in hospital for the next four months until doctors are satisfied with his progress.

The family have set up a fundraising page to gather the £50,000 needed to adapt their home.

“We didn’t know something like this was going to happen, so we haven’t got the savings to make the changes,” said Angela.

“He’s only 17 and because this kind of injury is rare for someone so young, he’d be in a home with older people. He needs people his own age – he needs his family around him.”

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