Skip to main content Skip to footer

999: Critical Condition: Staffordshire pensioner’s lucky escape to feature on Channel 5 Documentary

A 73-year-old Staffordshire granddad who looked like he’d been “mauled by a lion” after falling on a moving escalator is to feature in the first episode of the latest series of 999: Critical Condition, the exclusive documentary charting the life and death decisions and actions of staff at University Hospitals of North Midlands.

Frank Ball, of Hednesford, near Cannock, was dragged upside down on an escalator impaling his head and trapping his leg before being taken to the Major Trauma Centre at Royal Stoke University Hospital.

Today Frank, a retired electrical engineer, said: “My wife and I had ordered me a new coat and we popped in to pick it up. As I got on the escalator she called me back because the collection point was on the ground floor and as I turned round I fell forward. The escalator got my trousers and started taking me up backwards. My injuries pretty much made me look like I had been mauled by a lion; there was a lot of blood.”

He added: “Once arriving at Stoke I received a full body scan to check my injuries and my head was the worst and luckily I didn’t break my leg.  However, I did break a vertebrae in the top of my spine and you could see my skull.”

Frank, who has two children and two grandchildren, needed a skin graft about 5cm by 6cm on his head. He said: “They took the skin from my thigh. My hair is growing back now and everyone is amazed at how well my head has healed.”

Frank was brought into resus at Royal Stoke University Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent and his story will be told in the latest series of 999: Critical Condition on Channel 5, tonight (Wednesday 10 May) at 9pm.

He said: “It was the first time I have been to hospital in Stoke and I was so pleased with the care I receive. I have been back on an escalator but I don’t like them. It’s had much more of an effect on my wife Rosalind who thought I was a-gonna. The good news though is that the coat fit!