Two weeks after a worker was thrown from the back of a recycling truck on a Chilliwack street, Daniel Winston’s fight to recover is as tough as ever.
“It honestly feels like day one post accident again,” his wife Catherine said Monday morning.
“Daniel has been on a roller coaster ride.”
Daniel was working as a swamper on an Emterra recycling truck on Nov. 29 when he was thrown from the back at the corner of Corbould Street and Kipp Avenue causing a serious head injury.
Many surgeries and 12 days at Royal Columbian Hospital later, Daniel was out of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) but is back again, and is in quarantine having contracted a C. difficile infection, which is affecting his breathing.
“He was able to communicate via facial expressions until Saturday but now he’s back to non-communication,” Catherine said Monday. “He’s still unable to talk, walk, eat or drink and in soft restraints to protect his head and lines. He has pulled out a few too many tubes and lines.”
Further to that, and despite Catherine’s ongoing and positive attitude, she’s told that he will likely be in hospital until the spring.
Having previously felt confident that between support from the company, friends and family she would be OK financially, Catherine let a friend set up a GoFundMe.
“I know I originally hoped to not need this but unfortunately we do,” Catherine said.
A friend of Catherine, Lisa Middlemiss, set up the GoFundMe account to help them with the long road ahead. Catherine, who works for Emterra herself, has been at Daniel’s side since the incident and is not working.
“This story and couple have touched my heart and I hope that our community can help in anyway they can to help Daniel and Catherine during Daniel’s long journey to recovery,” Middlemiss said.
Middlemiss met Daniel, who is an artist, when he attended a booth at one of her Christmas markets she puts on as part of her business. It was the Christmas Market in Chilliwack Nov. 4 and 5.
“Daniel decided to bring his framed art work along to the event and had a very successful weekend,” she said. “He is an amazing artist.”
Before the accident, Daniel sold and displayed his work via his website Portraits In Pencil and More.
He was working just his sixth shift as a swamper on the Emterra truck when he was thrown off the back striking his head on the road.
Two Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) officers were present to examine the truck after the incident, and WorkSafeBC also started an investigation.
As for the nature of the injury, WorkSafeBC guidelines say swampers can only ride on the back of a garbage truck during short pickup runs at speeds of less than 20 km/h.
Anecdotal complaints on social media suggest drivers are frequently seen going over this speed with workers on the back.
WorkSafeBC time-loss claims for injuries in the category that includes garbage collectors has been on the decline over the last five years, according to a spokesperson.
In 2012, WorkSafeBC accepted 225 claims, a number that was down to 180 for 2016. So far in 2017, there have been 129 claims.
The highest percentage (40 per cent) are for musculoskeletal injuries such as overexertion and repetitive motion.
A further 11.3 per cent come for “fall from elevation,” and 7.6 per cent are from motor vehicle incidents.
Middlemiss said all the funds raised through the GoFundMe will go to Daniel and Catherine to help with loss of wages and expenses during his recovery.