21/2 hours in agony, and a hero came

By FRAZER PEARCE and LYNDAL GAWEN ? WHEN Jimmy Byrne took his daily walk about two hours later than usual, it turned into a godsend for Elizabeth Buckland.

Walking up Rose Street, North Rockhampton, about 10.15am Mr Byrne heard someone yelling for help.

"I thought it was a kid mucking about in the back yard,'' he said and almost walked past.

"I took a couple of steps and thought I'd better check it out.''

He went to the fence and yelled back.

"Then I heard this lady say: 'Oh, thank God'.''

Mrs Buckland had been lying on the bathroom floor for 21/2 hours, crying for help after her leg shattered ? below where her hip had just been surgically repaired ? as she got out of the shower.

Mrs Buckland, 50, had polio when she was young, making her bones brittle. Three years ago she lost her left leg and last month she had three pins placed in the right side of her hip.

At the time of the accident last Thursday Mrs Buckland had been home from hospital for two weeks and was not expecting anyone home until 6pm.

"Once she told me what was wrong I called the ambulance and asked how I could get in,'' Mr Byrne said.

Unable to go around the back because of the family's german shepherd Zues, Mr Byrne offered to kick in the back door. "She said: 'Do anything ? I'm in agony'.''

Once inside there was not much Mr Byrne could do other than keep Mrs Buckland comfortable and wait for the paramedics. The fall also broke Mrs Buckland's femur.

She is now in the surgical ward of Hillcrest Hospital in traction, waiting to hear what her treatment options are.

Yesterday, in her hospital bed, she recalled how grateful she felt when Mr Byrne found her.

"I was just so relieved to see him,'' she said.

"I said: 'Thank you very, very, much'. I was in a lot of pain. I had just about given up hope.

"I didn't think I had the strength to go on much longer. I thought I would be waiting on the (cold bathroom) floor for another six hours.''

Mrs Buckland said she was waiting to hear from her surgeon Kim Bulwinkel.

"He is an exceptional surgeon.

"I have complete faith in him.

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