By Kirsty Topping
A SCOTS woman has died just days after falling from her horse while on holiday.
Following the accident in Turkey, Louise Carolan was told by doctors that she had just torn some ligaments in the accident.
But five days after the accident and after returning home to Edinburgh the bubbly 26-year-old collapsed while out shopping.
She was rushed to hospital where doctors discovered a blood clot on her lung.
She later died while being cared for in the intensive care ward.
Her soldier brother, Graeme, was flown back from fighting in Afghanistan to be by her side.
In an added drama the wing flaps of the RAF plane bringing him home failed and the TriStar aircraft was forced to circle Edinburgh aircraft to burn off fuel before it could safely land.
Today Louise’s parents paid tribute to their “loving and giving daughter” who worked as a charity fundraiser for a local hospice.
The trio had gone on holiday together, where Louise had decided to take a horse riding trip.
Her father Gary said: “She took a fall from the horse and hurt her knee. She was hobbling around for a couple of days and when we got home I took her to the A&E department of the Western General where they said she had torn ligaments and to strap it up and use ibuprofen.
“On the Sunday, we got a phone call when she was shopping with her friend at the Gyle [local shopping centre]. She had collapsed and the paramedics said they didn’t like the sound of her heart.”
Along with his wife Christine, Gary rushed to the hospital thinking his beloved daughter had picked up a bug on holiday. But he was unprepared for the awful truth.
“When they got to the Western they found a blood clot on her lung, induced by the fall, and this caused a cardiac arrest,” he said.
“When they came into the room and told us to expect the worst it was a phenomenal shock. They asked us to come and say our goodbyes.
“There were nine doctors around her doing CPR. They detected a pulse and took her up to the ICU, where she was on a ventilator.”
Army bosses arranged for Louise’s brother to be whisked from the front line, where he was serving with 4 SCOTS, to her bedside.
The family kept a vigil for the next 72 hours, talking to her in an attempt to bring her round but doctors carried out a brain scan which revealed there was nothing more they could do for her.
The family gathered round her bedside as the machines keeping her alive were turned off.
Gary said: “They told us that, once the machine was switched off, she would either go very quickly or it would take hours. In this family we have something called ‘Louise time’ – she had no concept of time and punctuality. It’s a bit of dark humour but we thought ‘this is going to take hours’, but she passed away very quickly.”
Her mother Christine added: “You know that poem about Monday’s Child? Well, Louise was born on a Friday and she passed away on a Friday, and it’s ‘Friday’s child is loving and giving’. That just coins it.”
BROTHER’S DRAMATIC JOURNEY
Graeme was serving in Afghanistan when he was told of his sister’s condition.
The 4 SCOTS soldier was bewildered when he was pulled off duty at a checkpoint in Helmand province in the middle of the night and told to pack his bags.
An officer informed him that he was being given compassionate leave as his sister was seriously ill in hospital.
Within 25 minutes he was on a helicopter ferrying him Camp Bastion where a TriStar plane had been held back for him.
Graeme said: “It was 1.50 in the morning that I found out and I was told that there was a helicopter picking me up in 25 minutes from the main patrol base, so I had to jump in a vehicle to the helicopter landing site. It turned out the helicopter had been rescheduled to pick me up.
“They had a TriStar and they’d held it back at Camp Bastion for an hour-and-a-half waiting for me. When I went through the passenger handling facility they all knew who I was. They took my rifle off me, my body armour, gave me my passport and my phone.”
After being flown to Cyprus, Graeme had a second TriStar jet re-routed from Brize Norton to Edinburgh Airport especially for him.
“At that stage I just had no idea, I didn’t know what to expect when I got there. That was probably the worst bit, so you’re worrying about all sorts of things,” he said.
As the plane came into land there was further drama as the wing flaps which help slow the plane on landing jammed.
“We were over the Firth of Forth and coming in for the landing, then we turned and every ten minutes we’d see the same spot below. The pilot came back to speak to me first. He said: ‘We’ve got a problem, the flaps won’t come down. Edinburgh is a really short runway so we don’t know if we’re going to be able to land’.
“The whole of Task Force Helmand seemed to come to a halt to get me home. We’d been circling for about 30 minutes and he came back and said: ‘We’re still doing the calculations, but it looks like we will be able to land’.
“He said: ‘The airport fire service will be waiting on the runway for us because it’s going to be a fast landing. I’m going to hit the wheel brakes so hard that they’re probably going to catch fire’.”
However the pilet was able to land the plane safely and Graeme dashed to Louise’s bedside, arriving in the combats he had been wearing on the front line just 17 hours before.