Mum at risk of horror ‘internal decapitation’ after freak ceiling fan accident

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A Brit mum is in a race against time to raise £350,000 for life-saving treatment after a freak ceiling fan accident left her at risk of being "internally decapitated" with her condition “deteriorating day-by-day".

Rachel Pighills, 35, had been moving into a new house when she struck her head on a ceiling fan while stood on a bed, leaving her with horrific injuries, in August 2018.

Rachel was left with atlanto axial instability and basilar invagination, meaning her brain is sinking into her spinal canal and her skull is sliding down onto her neck.

It means she can no longer turn her head the wrong way as each time she does her spine partially dislocates increasing her risk of paralysis or death.

The precarious position of his wife's health has made her husband Guy feel "heartbroken and helpless".

Husband Guy, 41, says her condition is “deteriorating day-by-day" as the family desperately continue to raise the funds which could potentially save her life.

Guy, of Pershore, Worcs., said: "It has been soul-destroying to see her deteriorate. Her breathing is horrendous – she is having to force herself to breathe at the moment.

"There is no quality of life now, she is just gasping for breath. She ideally needs none-invasive therapy for her breathing but it is complicated.

"She is suffering from central apnoeas during the day too – sometimes she just stops breathing for a moment.

"She is constant agony, it is relentless. I genuinely can't remember her having a good day since she had her first surgery.

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"It has left me feeling heartbroken and helpless."

After receiving £45,000 in donations from well-wishers, the family are looking at different options to help save Rachel’s life, but are still short of their £350,000 target.

One option for the family is a complex operation in New York by Dr Paolo Bolognese – the only surgeon in the world prepared to do the procedure.

Guy, a quality inspector, added: "That trip to New York isn't without its difficulties: the changes in the air pressure and altitude, and she may need oxygen.

“It could affect her in a dangerous way. We will need medical supervision throughout.

"With that, there is no guarantee that Rachel will survive the surgery – but then again, she might not survive without the surgery.

"We are not fooling ourselves that this will be the fairy tale ending. We have to prepare ourselves for the worst in surgery, if we get there.

"It is a race against time now, I don't like to think about it but the longer she is like this, without treatment, the worse she is going to get – she will die.

"There are so many complex aspects to this and we don't know what the final straw will be. No doctor can tell us a deadline.”

Speaking previously, Rachel said: “I live in constant fear of paralysis and death. It's hard to describe that feeling.

"I’m a determined person and I have to try and do what I can. I know I can’t give up."

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