Teenager’s jaw rebuilt after horror horse accident in Derbyshire

Emily Eccles after the operation, and the x-ray taken beforehand Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Emily Eccles after the operation, and the x-ray taken beforehand

A teenager’s jaw was so badly damaged in a horse riding accident her surgeon described it as the worst injury he had seen outside a war zone.

Emily Eccles, 15, from Sheffield, was left with just one centimetre of skin keeping her jaw attached to the rest of her head after the accident in August.

Consultant surgeon Ricardo Mohammed-Ali rebuilt her face using three titanium plates and more than 160 stitches.

Emily is now calling for him to receive a knighthood.

The teenager was out riding in Baslow, Derbyshire, with a friend and her family when the accident happened.

The horse was spooked by an exhaust popping on a car and galloped along a country path, but after her feet came out of the stirrups, she fell to one side and her head hit a wooden post.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Emily Eccles went back to school one month after her accident

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Emily was taken to Sheffield Children’s Hospital after finding herself on the floor, holding what remained of the bottom of her face in her own hands.

‘Quite horrific’

Mr Mohammed-Ali rebuilt her face in a five-and-a-half hour long operation which was such a success that the teenager was back at school for the start of term, just a month after the accident.

Mr Mohammed-Ali said: “It could have been worse, but it is one of the most significant injuries that I have seen in a child outside of areas of conflict.”

He added: “Emily’s injury was significant in that the entire left side of her lower jaw from the front of the jaw to the joint was pulled away from the face and only retained by a small strip of skin.

“I am extremely pleased with her recovery so far.”

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The 15-year-old lives in a village just outside Sheffield, South Yorkshire

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Emily said she first tried not to look, but accidentally switched on her selfie camera as she was messaging a friend.

“It was like something you see in a film, it was really quite horrific,” she said.

“At first I was thinking, I don’t know what I’m going to do, I’m not going to look like me, I’m not going to have the same kind of life as I did before.”

The teenager has written to the Queen to get the surgeon a knighthood and received a personal letter straight back from her secretary saying it had been referred to the relevant body.

“Saving people’s lives and getting them back to normality definitely deserves some sort of recognition,” she said.

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