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'If found please return to St Mary’s'

This is the tattoo with an extraordinary story behind it. It belongs to 23-year-old Sam Kean, who fell over 70 feet from a fifth floor balcony in London’s bustling Soho district.

The impact of Sam’s fall had smashed his pelvis, collar bone and heel bones, broken both his elbows and snapped his femur. When the ambulance crew arrived, they immediately drilled a hole in Sam’s head to relieve the pressure on his brain caused by internal bleeding. Sam briefly died en route to St Mary’s major trauma centre, paramedics having to stop to perform CPR before continuing onto the hospital where he was placed in an induced coma by the hospital’s specialist major trauma staff.

His injuries were so severe, his parents were called in to St Mary’s Hospital at one stage to say goodbye to their son. Over the following weeks, major trauma staff operated on Sam on further occasions to help piece his broken body together again. Sam’s condition gradually improved and three weeks after the fall, Sam awoke from his coma. For the next seven weeks he remained in the care of staff at the major trauma centre before undergoing several months of intense rehabilitation to help him re-learn to walk, talk and eat.

As a testament to his recovery and the care he received, Sam bravely ran his first ever marathon on 7 May 2012, exactly a year after his accident. It was his way of saying thank you to the incredible efforts of St Mary’s major trauma staff who had saved his life. He is currently studying biology at a London university with plans to become a neuropsychologist.

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