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Return to UK for injured Morpeth father

Keith Dungait pictured in James Cook University Hospital.
Keith Dungait pictured in James Cook University Hospital.

A Morpeth man who suffered major injuries in a freak holiday accident is now continuing his recovery in a North East hospital after returning to the UK.

Dad-of-two Keith Dungait was on a stag-do with friends in Majorca, Spain, in early July when he dived into their private villa’s swimming pool and hit his head on the bottom.

The 42-year-old suffered multiple fractures to his neck and back and lost the use of his legs.

He spent a fortnight in Son Espases Hospital in Majorca’s capital Palma, then at the end of last month he was flown to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and had surgery to stabilise his neck. Medics have been assessing his progress since then and further tests are set to be carried out this week.

His wife, Christina, believes he is in an excellent place to continue his recovery. The couple’s sons Ronnie, seven, and Macaulay, five, have gone to the hospital to see their dad.

“Keith is now completely off the ventilator and he is able to talk, which is lovely,” she said.

“There have been some improvements – including movement in his hands and one leg – but the problems with swallowing remain, which means he still needs to be tube fed.

“Keith is in good spirits and still has his sense of humour. Although he knows it’s going to be a hard slog, he is prepared for the long haul and to do whatever it takes to hopefully get back on his feet.

“He was initially in the general high dependency unit and last Friday, he was moved to the high dependency unit in the spinal ward.

“The ward is second to none and the facilities will help my husband in his recovery.

“At the moment, medics are waiting for a bedsore to heal up before they take him out of bed in a wheelchair and begin intensive physiotherapy.

“The staff at James Cook have been fantastic. They encourage you to bring your children and there is a play room they can go to at the hospital.

“The plan is for Keith to be taken to this play room on August 20, so we as a family can celebrate Ronnie’s eighth birthday.

“We’re both overwhelmed with the supported we’ve received. This includes donations and friends and neighbours in Morpeth asking if there’s anything they can do.”

An appeal set-up on the JustGiving website to raise funds for Keith’s rehabilitation – www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/getkeithonhisfeet
has now raised more than £73,000, with £16,000 of this fund used to fly him back while the family continue to wait on a travel insurance payout.

In addition, a friend of Christina’s has made wrist bands to sell to help the family. Christina said that a few local places, among others, have been asked to stock them.