ABU DHABI // Is Dh600,000 enough money to compensate for losing a leg? That’s a question AT, 34, asks those who believe that she should be satisfied with the amount awarded to her by the court for losing her right leg in a bus accident in 2007.
“Is that enough money for the pain and suffering I go through every second,” asked the 34-year-old Filipina.
The accident that changed her life happened when she was heading to Abu Dhabi, after spending time with friends in Al Ain in 2012.
“I took one day off of work to visit my friends. I went on Tuesday and went back on Wednesday evening at 11pm. At around 12.15am Thursday the accident happened, 10 minutes prior to us arriving at the station,” she said.
She was sitting in the front window seat, and was asleep when tragedy struck.
“All I remember is I heard a large bang and felt myself moving up and down. When I opened my eyes, I was facing the side. My chair flipped. The side of the bus was scraped off. I felt that my leg was numb. When I lifted it up, it was gone,” she said
Her reaction was unusual.
“I thought I was dreaming. It took me a few minutes to realise that this was real. There was a guy who I think jumped off the bus. He kept calling me to get off. I told him I had no legs and couldn’t go down. When he looked at me, he screamed. At that time I realised that it was serious and I had become handicapped.”
AT asked the man to help her look for her bag.
“I didn’t want to go to the hospital without anyone knowing. I searched for my phone and the first person I called was a close friend.” The she called her a friend she works and lives with.
AT calmly told her that she wouldn’t be coming into work the next day because she lost her leg in an accident.
“She didn’t believe me because I was so calm. I just wanted someone to know where I was because I knew I’d be gone for a long time.
AT was taken to Rashid hospital where she remained for two months and underwent three surgeries. Both legs were broken and her right one was amputated just below the knee during the accident.
For five months after the operation, AT was unable to walk. Once her wounds healed she got a prosthetic leg and now uses a cane to walk.
“Without the cane, I limp and its even more tiring to walk. I have constant pain in my legs. That’s why its hard for me to accept. I thought before, if I got a prosthetic then that’s it. I didn’t know that I had to wear a silicon lining.”
The lining is a mould that has to be slipped on the leg before attaching the prosthetic.
“It is very tight. Usually for amputees the bones is cut straight but since the accident they tried to save what they could and the bone is jagged which causes me a lot of pain. I can have it cut off but this will require another operation and I don’t want to go through that again so Ill just bear the pain.”
She says her life has completely changed since the accident.
“Before I could live alone. Now I need someone to be living with me.”
Doing simple tasks is difficult.
“Everything is very different. I used to be very active and played volleyball and table tennis. Now I cant because I cant run. I can’t do any sports. Now I’m always at home. I
can’t go [out] alone. I also can’t commute or travel alone, especially in the Philippines.”
In December last year, a judge granted AT Dh600,000 in compensation.
“I don’t know if its a crazy amount but I think I deserve a million,” she said. “I didn’t chose that this happen to me and like anyone who has gone through something like this, I want a better life. My parents tell me that I should be grateful and if I were in the Philippines, Id be getting nothing.”