Ahmed's accident: a tale of survival and family spirit

An ordinary Monday morning turned into a disaster. On his way to school, 16-year-old Ahmed Dawood was involved in a serious accident that nearly cost him his life.

16-year-old Skellefteå resident Ahmed Dawood was involved in a serious bicycle accident just over a month ago. He was discharged from hospital two weeks ago.

16-year-old Skellefteå resident Ahmed Dawood was involved in a serious bicycle accident just over a month ago. He was discharged from hospital two weeks ago.

Foto: Melker Westerberg

Skellefteå2023-10-16 16:00

September 11 was a beautiful autumn day in Skellefteå. The sun was shining as Ahmed Dawood, who lives in Morö Backe, headed to school. He is in his first year of high school and has plans to be a truck driver in the future.

Most likely, Ahmed was cycling up this hill when he was on his way to school that morning. "I'm not entirely sure, but I usually take that route," says Ahmed.

– Sometimes I take the bus to school, sometimes I ride my bike. This morning, I rode my bike, Ahmed said.

He doesn't remember which route he took, but it was probably the usual one.

– I usually cycle through Moröhöjden, so that was probably the route I took. But I don't know, I don't remember much about the morning. And I don't remember anything about the accident.

The accident happened on Norrbölegatan near Norrvalla. Exactly what happened is unclear, but people Ahmed's family talked to said he collided with a car.

– He must have flown forward over the handlebars, said Ahmed's older sister, Maroa.

The SOS alarm was raised at 08:28. Emergency services and police were called to the scene. Norran also arrived shortly after the accident to report on it:

– A person lies on a stretcher and is being taken to the ambulance, Norran's reporter said.

That person was Ahmed. He wasn't wearing a bike helmet and had hit his head. After the crash, emergency crews washed blood off the tarmac.

This is where the accident occurred. The rescue team had to wash away blood from the street.

Ahmed was taken to the emergency room, where staff immediately began treating him for acute head injuries. At the same time, one of Ahmed's friends called Ahmed's father, Rami, to tell him what had happened.

– He said that Ahmed had been in an accident and had been taken to the hospital, Rami said.

Ahmed was transported from the accident scene in an ambulance.

Father Rami and mother Laila went straight to the emergency room. Ahmed's sister, Maroa, also went. She describes the disturbing scenes when she entered the room where Ahmed was being treated.

– He was lying in a bed and there were probably 20 different people working on him. Doctors and nurses were everywhere. That's when I realized it was very serious, Maroa said.

The decision was made to transfer Ahmed to Norrlands University Hospital in Umeå for surgery, as he had suffered several severe cerebral hemorrhages.

– It was urgent. The best option would probably have been to fly him in an air ambulance, but the helicopter was on another mission, so it had to be a regular ambulance, Maroa said.

The ambulance took Ahmed, while the family drove. Mother Laila remembers the car ride with fear.

– I was afraid I would lose my son.

In Umeå, Ahmed underwent surgery. Maroa remembers that the surgeon said it would be a very complicated operation.

– He said he would do his best, but he was not sure if Ahmed would survive.

To access the acute bleeding in the brain and relieve the pressure, doctors had to open Ahmed's head. Today, Ahmed has stitches all over his head and is missing part of his skull.

– It's a little soft when you touch certain places, he said.

The stitches on his head bear witness to the extensive surgery that was performed after the accident.

Ahmed was sedated during the surgery, which lasted more than five hours. Shortly after midnight, the family received word that the surgery had gone well.

– But the doctors said it was still not certain that Ahmed would survive, Maroa said.

The days that followed are described by Maroa and the parents as "terrible". Ahmed was in a coma in intensive care. He also suffered several complications, including a serious blood clot, as he hovered between life and death.

During his hospitalization, the family stayed in Umeå, including Ahmed's oldest sister, Marianna, who had come from Gothenburg.

– As soon as I got the call about the accident, I booked a ticket to Umeå, she said.

The family says it was difficult to focus on anything but Ahmed during their time in the hospital.

– The medical staff said we should go out to eat or get some fresh air. But we didn't want to; we wanted to be with Ahmed, said Rami, the father.

These are pictures of Ahmed while he was in the hospital. He was under sedation for almost two weeks.

On Friday, September 22, Ahmed underwent a second surgery. By then, he had been in a coma for eleven days.

– They tried to wake him up, but it didn't work. His body couldn't take it, Maroa said.

The weekend after the surgery, there was another attempt to wake Ahmed - and this time it worked.

– When he woke up, he was very confused at first. He didn't know he had been in an accident, and he didn't know he was in Umeå.

Ahmed recalls his first memories after waking up:

– I was very tired and it took me a while to understand what had happened. I remember being in a room, but I don't remember much else.

After waking up, he continued to be cared for in Umeå for a few days before being transferred to Skellefteå. He was discharged from the hospital less than two weeks ago.

Norran met Ahmed at his apartment in Morö Backe.

Both Ahmed and his family are grateful for the medical care Ahmed received, and they acknowledge that it could have been much worse.

– It feels fantastic to be home again. It's so much better to see him here than in a bed in intensive care, Maroa said.

Ahmed no longer needs to be in the hospital but takes daily medication. He administers a pre-filled syringe twice a day – one in the morning and one in the evening.

Today, Ahmed is doing relatively well given the circumstances. He's walking and talking without any problems, and he says he's not in as much pain. He hopes to return to school later in the autumn.

At the same time, it's clear that the accident has left its mark. In addition to the visual manifestation of the trauma, the stitches on his head, Ahmed says he is tired.

– And I'm sensitive to light. It's unfortunate; I like to play video games, but I can't really do that right now.

He will have another surgery in a few weeks.

– I'm going to get the rest of my skull back.

The police opened an investigation after the accident, and in recent weeks the family has been trying to get answers from the police about the progress of the investigation. However, despite repeated attempts to contact them, the family has received no response.

– It's strange. I think we should know the status of the investigation and if the police have been able to find out what has happened. It was a very serious incident, said Maroa.

Only when Norran spoke to Lars Westermark, the police chief in Skellefteå, did they get an answer. Initially, a report was filed for negligent driving, but the investigation was dropped.

Lars Westermark, police chief in Skellefteå.

Westermark says that the police undertook several investigative measures.

– They documented the scene, interviewed the driver and witnesses. Based on the information available, the preliminary investigator has assessed that it is not possible to determine who caused the accident.

So it's impossible to say whose fault it was?

– Exactly, says Westermark.