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Liberty Jefferson's shattered ankle, result of a Phuket hit-run

Expat Teacher's Hit-Run Motorcycle Nightmare

Saturday, September 22, 2012
PHUKET: A speeding pickup that ran a red light on Phuket has dramatically altered the life of young American Liberty Jefferson.

She's the latest in a long line of mostly young victims of the motorcycle on Phuket, a place with no safe public transport alternatives for many.

Friends and family in the US are reported to be coming to the aid of Liberty, whose right leg is still shattered six months after the crash.

She told KVAL News in Oregon that she was teaching English to third graders on Phuket in March when her life was ''turned upside-down'' by a crash.

''I turned and just bash - that was it. I woke up in the ambulance.'' Jefferson said.

The news report adds that Jefferson says she sat in a hospital room 13 hours before she received any help. In all she spent nine days in the government hospital.

''It seems so surreal that it even happened, you know. It was so traumatic,'' Liberty said.

''My ankle was shattered so bad they had to put this external fixator in to keep the bones stable.''

Now KVAL News reports that the doctors in Thailand ''botched the two operations''.

She has been told she needs more surgery. Friends and family are trying to raise the money.

''It's tough but I do have support here. I'm surviving but the medical bills are just expensive - unbelievable, you know,'' said Jefferson.

Phuket's Public Health Department aims to cut the road death toll on Phuket from 116 last year to 50 before 2015.

Most of the deaths come on motorcycles, with two Frenchmen among the latest victims.

The toll has been cut considerably over the past few years, down from more than 200 a year, by obliterating blackspots and attempting to persuade riders to wear safety helmets.

However, the prevalence of motorcycles as the only convenient transport for many leaves thousands injured, maimed and mutilated each month.

Motorcycle crashes are the prime cause of Phuket's public hospitals being overstretched and unable to service all of Phuket's health needs.

Most people on Phuket are forced to use motorcycles because Phuket's administrators have never been able to implement a low cost, safe alternative.

Phuket's taxi and tuk-tuk monopoly fixes fares at too high a rate for locals and most tourists, yet objects to an alternative that would reduced the risk to everyone, including their own relatives and friends.

Phuketwan's regular monthly updates on the improving statistics for the road toll dead and injured on Phuket ended abruptly in April when Phuket Public Health stopped supplying the figures.

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