Uncertain future after car crash

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 30/12/2013

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Jesse Laing is preparing for a grim New Year as he prays for the recovery of his brother, who is fighting for his life in hospital after a car crash near Palmerston North.

His brother, a 31-year-old labourer from Palmerston North who he doesn't want named, was seriously injured in a crash near the city last week.

He is now in intensive care in Wellington Hospital in a drug-induced coma after suffering a brain bleed, a stroke, paralysis and a blood clot in his neck.

As the rest of the family gather around to see in the New Year, Laing is hoping his brother will pull through.

"You just know that his life and our lives have all changed forever," he said.

"Somebody just doesn't go through something like this and just bounce back the same old person that they were.

"Everybody is trying to come to terms with [the thought] that he might regain some sort of a life or he might lose his life - it's just too early to know.

"But our family has been rocked to the core and we're taking it day by day and doing the best that we can for him."

His brother was driving his Nissan Skyline on No 1 Line when he was involved in a collision with a van, which was towing a trailer carrying 14 greyhounds, at the intersection of Karere Rd about 4.30pm on December 23.

The driver and passenger of the van were taken to hospital and later discharged, while Laing's brother had to be cut free from his car after suffering more serious injuries.

Laing said his brother is the middle brother of three boys, a car enthusiast and a much loved member of the family.

Laing said he was admitted to Palmerston North Hospital in a coherent state, but quickly developed a brain bleed and was flown to Wellington Hospital's neurosurgery department on Christmas Eve.

He has had a section of his skull removed to relieve swelling on his brain, but is still dealing with the clot in his neck.

Yesterday the family were closely monitoring the removal of a breathing tube, hoping he would manage without it.

Laing's youngest brother arrived in the country from Australia at the weekend.

The family met with specialists to talk about the future, including the risks of their brother's recovery, treatment plans and possible brain damage.

"He could be gone in a week's time, six weeks' time, six months' time, or he might make a 90 per cent recovery - it's just too early to tell what's going on," Laing said.

"It's really affected the family big time, in a lot of ways, but it's unhealthy for everybody to be dwelling on it.

"It's in the hands of the doctors, it's in the hands of God and there's nothing we can do moping around about it... All you can do is be there for him and hope for the best possible outcome."

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A well-known greyhound racing couple from the district owned the van and trailer involved in the crash.

Police said three dogs were euthanised and one went missing after the crash.

The serious crash unit was still investigating and police were yet to decide whether charges would be laid.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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