Accident left me bleeding to death, says Hinckley cyclist
A cyclist almost died after coming off his mountain bike.
Ashley Sherwin needed open-heart surgery after rupturing an artery in his chest in the freak accident.
He lost three-and-a-half pints of blood through internal bleeding following what he initially thought was a minor fall.
The 45-year-old from Hinckley said: "I was up in Dalbeattie with some friends and I was just coming down an incline at no more than five miles an hour when I went over my handlebars.
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"I did the same thing a couple of years ago and on that occasion I put my arms out and I broke my collar bone. I think that's why I let my chest take the impact this time.
"I hit a big rock and although I felt a bit groggy I got back on my bike all right."
A couple of hours later Mr Sherwin went to a small hospital in Castle Douglas, about five miles away, and was offered an ambulance to take him to the emergency department in Dumfries, but he declined.
Five hours later he felt a sharp pain in his shoulder blade and asked his friends to call an ambulance. A scan at the hospital in Dumfries showed massive internal bleeding.
He said: "The whole left side of my body was black on the CT scan where three-and-a-half pints of blood had leaked out into my body.
"I'm told I was pretty white by the time I arrived in Dumfries.
"I didn't have a single broken bone but the main artery between my heart and lungs had a split. It was a very minor accident but I almost bled to death."
Mr Sherwin was hooked up for a blood transfusion and rushed to Glasgow for the open-heart surgery, which involved cutting open his breastbone to fix the artery.
He is now well on the road to recovery.
For the past 12 years, he has worked six days a week at Bikes & Sports, his cycling shop in Hinckley. Following his brush with death, however, he is cutting that down to five to spend more time with his wife, Rochelle, and four-year-old daughter, Zaraah.
He said: "I feel very lucky to be alive and when something like this happens you do reflect on life. I'm going to shut my shop on Tuesdays and spend more time with my family from now on."
The accident happened on May 28 and he was released from hospital on June 3.
Rochelle, 32, said she and Zaraah would love having him around more.
She said: "He's been working six days a week since forever so it's nice he's going to spend some more time with his family. If they hadn't phoned the ambulance when they did he would be dead now and he does look at life differently."