Mum's 'life has been ruined' after being hit in the head by runaway trolley leaving her with brain disorder
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A mum says her ‘life has been ruined’ after being hit in the head by a runaway trolley at B&Q, which left her with a brain disorder.
Tara Shawbrook, 33, went to a B&Q store in Bamber Bridge, Preston, with her three children during the pandemic in August 2020, aiming to buy materials to renovate her loft at home in Blackburn.
She found the parts she needed before heading to another aisle to pick out some screws for a different DIY project.
As she looked for the right screws, a fellow customer lost control of her trolley, which Shawbrook said had 2.4m-long skirting boards inside.
The contents of the woman’s trolley hit her on the back of the head, sending her lurching forwards into the metal shelving unit.
The woman left after apologising, while a dizzy and light-headed Shawbrook later collapsed after driving home.
Her mother took her to A&E for a suspected concussion, where she was immobilised immediately and placed in a head brace, with a CT scan discovering a gap at the top of her spine.
Shawbrook discharged herself after three days as she needed to get her children ready for the new school year, but says the accident has since ‘changed her life’ as she still suffers every day – including being unable to take her kids to school – having now been diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND).
Shawbrook, from Blackburn in Lancashire, said: "This accident has changed my life.
"Every day I suffer but I will have flare ups that happen randomly and can be affected by things like hormones. For the past three weeks I haven't been able to walk properly.
"I struggle with getting dressed on my own and I struggle with extreme confusion.
"When my brain is overloaded, I can't string a sentence together.
"My mum has been cooking for the family for the last three weeks because I haven't been able to.”
She said immediately before the accident, she had seen the B&Q customer pushing an ‘overfilled’ trolley around the store.
Shawbrook continued: "It wasn't the right trolley for the load she had in it and she wasn't using the correct trolley for what she was carrying.
"I watched her on quite a few occasions go past members of staff who didn't bat an eyelid at it.
"I know that B&Q staff health and safety training says that if they see a customer using the wrong equipment, they have to advise them and stop them from using the wrong one.
"She should have been using a flatbed trolley not a standard one.”
Shawbrook said she had reported the incident to the B&Q store manager, who had noted it in the accident book and made a copy of the CCTV footage showing the accident.
However, she claims she was unable to receive a copy of the CCTV clip due to data protection, saying she has been unable to make a compensation claim because of this.
Shawbrook was previously a mobile hairdresser, but is now unemployed due to the accident, having been unable to move her head and neck for six weeks while her dizzy spells continued.
She even began to experience vacant seizures, which could happen up to 30 times a day.
Shawbrook was put on a long waiting list for an electroencephalogram (EEG) scan and, after waiting to be assessed, she was blue lighted to hospital in June 2021 for a suspected stroke.
Despite then being bumped up as an ‘urgent case’ for a neurological assessment - having at one point even started to turn yellow 'like a character out of The Simpsons' - the waiting list was still 12 months long, so she booked an assessment at a private neurological clinic, where she was diagnosed with FND.
"FND comes from certain things. It can come from past mental trauma but I have been lucky not to experience this,” Shawbrook said.
"They [the neurologist] pointed it to be from physical trauma and the hit of the head by the skirting board."
She added: "My family is very supportive and we try to have a laugh and a joke about what this illness makes me do.
"On other days, the pain is so severe I can't mentally or physically cope.
"I'm only relatively young and some days I need my walking stick and sometimes I need my wheelchair.
"I feel a bit of a fraud though because sometimes I won't need to use a stick at all.
"The disease is so complex and it makes me embarrassed as not all the signs are visible."
B&Q declined to comment.