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Explosion victim praises clinic

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Recovering: Blast victim Hugh Williams

Recovering: Blast victim Hugh Williams

A WORKER who suffered major leg injuries in an explosion in Llangennech last year has praised the treatment and support he received from the only specialist orthopaedic and plastic surgery service in Wales.

The Ortho-plastic Research Clinic at Morriston Hospital combines the skills of burns and plastic surgery consultants from the Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery, with trauma and orthopaedic surgeons and physio and occupational therapists.

Victims of traffic collisions, accidents and even explosions receive highly specialist care, which ranges from resetting open fractures and repairing complex wounds, to therapy to help restore their mobility as much as possible after their initial healing.

This multi-disciplinary, staged, care is producing excellent outcomes for patients, including Hugh Williams, who was rushed to Morriston Hospital at the end of November after being badly injured in an explosion in his workplace in Llangennech, Llanelli. Mr Williams underwent complex surgery, with orthopaedic trauma surgeons and plastic surgeons working together.

“I suffered from third degree burns and a very badly fractured leg – when I looked down my foot was turned in completely the wrong direction,” Mr Williams recalled.

“I’ve had to have a pin in my leg and skin grafts for my burns. But I am healing really well now.”

Having recovered from the initial surgeries, Mr Williams is now starting physio with the team, and can already walk with the aid of crutches – less than three months after the explosion.

Consultant Orthopaedic Trauma surgeon, Professor Ian Pallister, said: “At Morriston Hospital we are in a unique position where we can offer an ortho-plastic service for patients who have sustained open fractures. These are complex injuries, usually as a result of traffic collisions, or sometimes in older patients, falls at home.

“These fractures break through the skin, causing a complex wound which is connected to the fracture. From a surgical point of view this requires surgical input to help stabilise the bones after cleaning the wound out, and plastic surgery to reconstruct the soft tissue. This often this requires moving muscle or skin and flesh around within the leg and even transferring it from different parts of the body in more complex injuries.”

He said that Morriston deals with around 50 open tibia fractures a year, as well as a number of open ankle and femur fractures.

“The surgery is only part of the story, and equally important is rehabilitating the patient afterwards, with physiotherapy; along with the input of our specialist nurses and occupational therapists for wound and a scar management, to help reduce swelling which enables the patient to regain their mobility.

“Bearing in mind the complexity of the problems and the fact that we look after patients from the whole of South Wales, patients often have to travel long distances, to come back for review here at Morriston.

“So we’ve set up this Ortho-plastic Research Clinic to cut down on the number of appointments and time patients have to spend travelling to and from us.

“But this also gives us the added benefit of being able to see the patient together – orthopaedic trauma specialists like myself, the plastic surgeons, specialist nurses, the occupational therapists and the physios.

“While we’re seeing the patient they are getting the benefit from the additional clinical input, and we’re also collecting information about their recovery. So as part of our research project so we can help define exactly what the crucial parameters are to help people get better quicker, and how to capitalise on that and develop the services,” he added.

“The support of the Joint Clinical Research Facility at Morriston Hospital with this has been indispensible.”

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Antisocial behaviour falls as police operation continues

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POLICE said that they saw a reduction in antisocial behaviour involving young people in Carmarthenshire over the weekend, following weeks of increased activity.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers proactively patrolled areas which have recently become hot spots for teenagers to gather and drink alcohol as part of an ongoing operation.

A police presence was also maintained on trains between Llanelli and Carmarthen to identify how many youngsters were travelling in the area and where they were getting off.

Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “Over the weekend we continued our work to target, deter and deal with antisocial behaviour and underage drinking in hot spots identified primarily in Llanelli and Burry Port.

“Section 34 dispersal orders had been put in place ahead of the weekend, meaning we could move on anyone likely to cause antisocial behaviour, but thankfully they were not required. This is an improvement on previous weekends when we have had to exercise these powers.

“A significant number of young people were spoken to, with the vast majority being pleasant, not under the influence of alcohol, and not causing any trouble.

“Members of the public acknowledged the high police presence, as did the young people, and this might have deterred underage drinking.

“We are very pleased to have seen the change in attitudes and behaviour this weekend.”

The force received just one call reporting youngsters gathering at Burry Port harbour, with no offences or antisocial behaviour identified by attending officers.

Of the young people spoken two over the weekend, two were found with alcohol which was seized. Follow-up antisocial behaviour letters will be issued, and home visits will take place shortly.

Groups were also reminded of the dangers of swimming near the harbour and were encouraged to take their rubbish home.

Officers on the rail network removed one drunk adult from a train.

Sgt Davies said: “I would like to thank all officers involved in the operation over the weekend, as well as the young people who made sure they stayed within the law while enjoying the weather.

“We will be out and about again next weekend and throughout the summer, making sure the area is enjoyable for all who visit.”

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Lord Lieutenant visits Mass Vaccination Centre

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Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sarah Edwards, has paid tribute to all those involved in the COVID-19 vaccination programme during a visit to the Y Ffwrness Mass Vaccination Centre in Llanelli.

During the visit on Wednesday 9th June she was joined by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Lt Col David Mathias, and the High Sheriff of Dyfed, Mr.Jonathan Gravell. They met and spoke to the centre’s vaccinators, NHS staff, security staff and volunteers.

To date, the collective efforts of mass vaccination centres, GP practices and community pharmacies in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, have resulted in the Hywel Dda University Health Board delivering over 431,850 vaccinations. This means 266,785 of the eligible population have now received a first vaccine, and 165,056 have received both doses.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed said: “It was wonderful to see first-hand the incredible work being undertaken by the vaccinators, NHS staff and volunteers. They have played a crucial role in the success of the vaccine rollout programme. I would also pay tribute to the public for their overwhelmingly positive response to getting vaccinated.”

Maria Battle, Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board, added: “On behalf of the health board, I was delighted to welcome Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Lt Col David Mathias, and the High Sheriff of Dyfed, Mr Jonathan Gravell. I am deeply proud of everyone involved in the vaccination programme and I’m glad they got to see for themselves the incredibly work being undertaken to help get us through this pandemic.”

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Alcohol seized and teenager arrested as police deal with antisocial behaviour

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POLICE seized large amounts of alcohol and arrested a teenager as they continued to deal with antisocial behaviour over the weekend.

Dyfed-Powys Police had proactive plans in place to deal with ongoing issues of groups of youngsters gathering in Carmarthenshire following rising reports of alcohol-related antisocial behaviour over the past two months.

Dispersal orders were in place across Llanelli and Burry Port, giving police the powers to move anyone believed to be causing a nuisance, harassment or distress out of the area.

Officers patrolling the rail network in Carmarthenshire on Saturday noticed a large amount of young people getting off the train at Ferryside, where an additional dispersal order was put in place and alcohol was seized.

Officers were also required to deal with children trespassing on the railway tracks.

Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “We had received reports of children with alcohol running across the tracks, which posed a huge danger to themselves and others, and had to be stopped as a priority.

“One boy who was detained became abusive towards officers and could not be reasoned with. Officers had no choice but to arrest him for his own safety and to prevent further offences from being committed.

“This incident goes to show that the kind of behaviour we are dealing with goes beyond groups of young people meeting to have a good time, and is putting people in highly dangerous situations.”

A 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of trespassing on the railway and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

He has been released under investigation pending further enquiries by British Transport Police.

Early intervention was taken in the Trostre area of Llanelli, where officers noticed groups of children meeting on Saturday.

Sgt Davies said: “More than 60 young people were moved on from both locations and a large amount of alcohol was seized.

“Out of these groups, four notices were issued to those causing the most trouble in the Trostre area which prevented them from returning, and each of these youngsters were taken home.

“This swift action was a deterrent to other young people who were planning on joining the groups and were still travelling to the area.”

“We will continue to put plans in place each weekend and over the summer holidays to deal with antisocial behaviour, using all powers available to us to put a stop to it.”

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