Thailand: Teacher, 47, cannot use his legs or hands after falling 20 feet from the balcony

British teacher Jill Dodds has lost the use of her legs and hands after a fall in Thailand

British teacher Jill Dodds has lost the use of her legs and hands after a fall in Thailand (Photo: NCJ / Gofundme)

A British teacher has been unable to use her hands or legs after falling 20 feet from a balcony while working in Thailand.

Jill Dodds, 47, was at a graduation party when she borrowed on a fence that gave way while she took a picture with a friend.

She sustained severe spinal cord injuries and a crushed vertebra, leaving her with no movement in her legs and no use of hands and fingers /

Her family is appealing for help getting her back to Morpeth, Northumberland, as she needs full-time care while she recovers.

They aim to raise enough money to fly her back to the Northeast as soon as she is able to travel.

Jill – who has lived in Thailand for six years – suffered the injuries just before Christmas on December 18. Another person who also fell received a broken collarbone.

Jill’s sister, Katie Breeze, 39, said she felt “numb” after hearing the news, and the situation was made more difficult by the fact that Jill was so far away.

She said: ‘I felt really numb at first, it was just incredible. We’re just feeling helpless at the moment. We’ve talked to Jill as much as we can, but it’s hard to be that far away. ‘

Jill Dodds sustained serious back injuries after she fell 20 feet from a balcony

Jill had lived in Thailand for six years before the accident (Photo: ncjMedia Ltd)

Katie explained what was happening and said, ‘It was a closing party all day, and around noon. 14.00 they took pictures.

‘When they borrowed the fence, the fence yielded, another person fell and broke her collarbone, and Jill was seriously injured. She fell about 20 feet down and damaged two of her vertebrae. One was crushed and one was broken.

‘She has no movement from the waist down, no feeling in her legs, she can not use her hands, she can not move her wrists.

‘She can not stand anything, she must be eaten with a spoon, and she needs a straw to drink, but she can talk and move her head.’

Jill Dodds with her mother, sister Katie, sister Nicola and Katie's youngest daughter Isla at Christmas 2019

Jill with her mother, sister Katie, sister Nicola and Katie’s youngest daughter Isla in Christmas 2019 (Photo: ncjMedia Ltd)

Katie said Jill’s health insurance covered a ride in the ambulance and her stay in the intensive care unit of a private hospital. But her coverage has now been used up and she has been moved to a state hospital.

She said: ‘Currently she is in a Thai state hospital, she has been there for about a week.

‘She underwent surgery in which metal rods were inserted to remove some of the pressure from her nerves.

‘They do not know of any long-term damage at the moment. We were first told it would take two years before she would go again, but we just do not know. ‘

British teacher loses use of legs and hands after fall in Thailand Credit gofundme

Jill was given a Christmas dinner by friends at the hospital after spending the party period in the wards

Jill’s friends and work colleagues have gathered around the popular teacher, visited her at the hospital and even looked after her two dogs as well as kept her loved ones at home informed.

Katie said: ‘We’re in touch with her friends over there and the people she works with who have been amazing. They try to explain everything to us as we do not know what kind of care she is getting, we want her home as soon as she is able to travel.

“We were told after her surgery that she would have to be in the hospital for at least two weeks and it would take six weeks before she would be able to travel.”

Jill’s friends even brought her a Christmas dinner to help boost morale.

Katie said: ‘She’s pretty down, she’s lucky, she has a lot of people around her who are doing what they can to help her.

‘When she does not have her friends, she is alone for hours and can do nothing for herself that really makes her fall apart. A couple of her friends also brought her a Christmas dinner, which was lovely. ‘

Katie added: ‘She put things in place to move home, but because of Covid, it kept getting put back. We were hoping she would be home by Easter. ‘

A friend of the family, Leigh Hawkes, set up a Go Fund Me page on behalf of Jill’s sisters Katie and Nicola with the money raised to go to hospital bills and get Jill home.

Katie said the family is ‘overwhelmed’ by the support they have received so far, with more than £ 16,000 already raised in a few days.

She said: ‘The fundraising page really took off from Facebook because people shared it, we are just overwhelmed by the response we have received.

‘It has been really surprising how many people have helped us, even people we do not know, and all the messages we have received. Everything helps.

‘It’s all the girls in our family. Our mother had three girls me, Jill, and our other sister Nicola, who has two girls, and I also have two girls, so Jill has four nieces. We’re all really close.

‘We just take each day as it comes.’

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