Spinal Outreach Service helps Morgan navigate the road to recovery

A man in a wheelchair with a blanket over his legs sits in front of a lake
With the support of the Spinal Outreach Service, Morgan is learning to navigate life from the seat of his wheelachair
September 9, 2021

On the 5 August 2020, 33-year-old Kalgoorlie local Morgan Scrivener’s life changed forever.

Morgan was out riding his new motorbike with a friend when an attempt to overtake a road train went seriously wrong. He was airlifted to Royal Perth Hospital with multiple fractures to his neck, spine, ribs and a traumatic head injury.

He also lost all feeling from his chest down.

Exactly one year on from his accident, and four months since he was discharged from Fiona Stanley Hospital’s (FSH) State Rehabilitation Service (SRS), Morgan is still learning to navigate life from the seat of his wheelchair, but he’s not doing it alone.

“I came back to FSH in August for a month of intensive physiotherapy to help with my nerve pain and spasming,” Morgan said.

“The physio team has been amazing helping me to regain my strength. After breaking my scapula and clavicle, I’ve finally got 100 percent movement back in my right hand and fingers.”

Morgan returned home to Kalgoorlie on Saturday 4 September 2021, just in time to spend Father’s Day with his 11-year-old son.

Thanks to the Spinal Outreach Service (SOS) based at FSH, Morgan can live comfortably with his family knowing he will have support and guidance available whenever he needs it.

The SOS team provide care and advice to all Western Australians living with spinal cord injuries. The service works as both a Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP), helping those discharged from hospital with a new injury, and as a consultation and advisory service to support those with existing spinal cord injuries.

In Morgan’s case, the ability to walk, work and kick the footy with his son was all a part of his everyday life. Acting Team Leader of the SOS, Amanda Parfitt, said it’s cases like this where people need support the most.

“When our patients are in hospital after a major trauma incident or an accident that has resulted in a spinal cord injury, they are surrounded by supportive and passionate experts. Upon discharge is almost always the toughest part,” Amanda said.

“Our clients sometimes report feeling like they are on their own once they leave hospital. Our role is to let them know they still have full access to experts like occupational therapists, physios, social workers and nurses whenever they need it.”

The SOS team work closely with Morgan’s local GP in Kalgoorlie, as well as the Kalgoorlie accessibility shop to ensure he has all the help he needs right there in his hometown.

“We are here Monday to Friday to answer any calls, provide any advice and even just have a chat with our clients. Whatever the client needs, our role is to help them,” Amanda said.

“You can’t wind back the clock with things like this, but you can ensure those impacted are living the most comfortable and safe life possible.”

For Morgan, despite the accident and his long road to recovery, he remains thankful and optimistic for all the good times ahead.

“Getting back home and spending Father’s Day with my son was incredible,” he said.

“Although things are different (with me being in a wheelchair), my wife still has a husband and my son still has a dad. That's what matters most to me."

A huge thanks to all our SMHS colleagues and teams involved in the care and treatment of individuals like Morgan, and in particular the SRS and SOS team for helping those impacted by spinal cord injuries to live a full life.

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