Crash pensioner: I'm lucky to be alive

LAID up with a fractured skull, broken ribs and covered in bruises, 87-year-old Jack Keen admits he is lucky to be alive today.

LAID up with a fractured skull, broken ribs and covered in bruises, 87-year-old Jack Keen admits he is lucky to be alive today.

Mr Keen is recovering after a road accident which took place while he was riding his bike.

The pensioner was hurled over the bonnet of a car and struck his head on the kerb.

He said: “I can't remember much as I was knocked out and didn't come round until I was in hospital.

“I know it could have been a lot worse. I wasn't wearing a safety helmet.”

Mr Keen was turning from Bramford Lane into Wallace Road, where he lives, when the collision with a car happened on Tuesday, May 29.

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One of his broken ribs punctured his lung and he suffered internal bleeding. The bang on his head has also affected his hearing.

He said: “I don't know how long I'll be in hospital but I can't go home like this. I'm too weak to look after myself.”

Mr Keen's son and daughter live in Australia and his wife of 51 years, Marjorie, died three years ago.

He is being visited in hospital by his two nieces.

Mr Keen worked for Shell at Ipswich Docks, Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies and as a drummer in his younger years.

He has two classic cars and has entered the annual Ipswich to Felixstowe Historic Vehicle Run for the past 28 years.

He also took photographs of Ipswich through the years, and now gives talks to community groups.

He said: “I had been to Whitehouse Baptist Church for a lunch. The lunch had actually been cancelled but I forgot and so I rode straight there and back.

“It's my wife's old bike. I use it to ride short distances.”

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JACK Keen's son today hit out at hospital telephone service Patientline after he was unable to ring his sick father.

Clive Roberts, who moved to Australia with his mother when he was a teenager, has been keeping in contact with Mr Keen via daily telephone calls.

But when the system broke down for more than two days it cut off his only link with his father, who has no children in the UK.

Mr Roberts, said: “I got a friend who lives over there to sort it out for me to pay for the phone for him and I managed to speak to him for two days, and then on the third it wouldn't work.

“I was told by the hospital because it was the weekend there was no staff from Patientline to reset it.

“It went down on Saturday and wasn't working again until later on Monday.

“I complained on the phone to Patientline and all they said was they couldn't sort it until Monday which I thought was a disgusting attitude.

“It is so frustrating not being able to tell him I was thinking about him, or hear from him how he was feeling.

“The hospital was very good updating me, but it's not the same as hearing from him.

“I e-mailed Patientline and they said they would look at his phone, but they had missed the point - it wasn't just his phone which had a problem. I e-mailed again but never heard back.

“The whole thing is also going to cost me an arm and a leg as I kept trying over the weekend and you have to listen to two long messages before being told you can't be put through.

“I thought about travelling over but my mother is in hospital in Australia and needs me, and Ipswich Hospital only allows visiting for two hours a day, so what would I do the rest of the time?”

A spokesman for Patientline said: “Due to unforeseen technical issues, the Patientline system was inoperable in two wards of Ipswich Hospital over last weekend.

“We would like to take this opportunity to apologise to any patients and families who were inconvenienced by the temporary service outage.”