THE scientist who was gored by a stag and suffered life-threatening injuries to her throat has spoken of her miracle recovering but said she is still traumatised by the event.
Cambridge scientist Dr Kate Stone was on holiday in Lochailort in the Highlands at the end of last year when she was charged at by a startled stag as she walked back from a village pub.
The animal knocked over the 44-year-old, impaling her throat in its antlers. She was taken by ambulance to Fort William's Belford hospital, where a metal stent was inserted in her neck and her punctured lung was drained. She was then transferred by helicopter to Glasgow's Southern General hospital.
In a 10-hour operation, surgeons reconstructed the cartilage in her neck; incredibly, the antler stopped just millimetres from her spinal chord and a major artery.
Dr Stone, an electronics inventor, had to learn to speak and write again
Until just a few weeks ago, she had to be fed through a naso-gastric tube. However, the mother-of-three has now returned to work at her hi-tech print company in Cambridge.
She reveals the worst part of the experience was not the physical assault, but the mental trauma.
"I had crazy hallucinations, which carried on a week after I woke up," she recalls. "It was a very scary and dark time, like a recurring bad dream."
Dr Stone, who spent most of her recovery at her sister's home in Dundee, reveals she still has flashbacks.
"People think I made a miraculous recovery, and physically I did. But the mental scars will take a lot longer to heal."
However, she also spoke of coming to terms with the accident. "I suppose I could wallow in what's happened, and ask 'Why me?'.
"But I don't see the point. I believe it was part of my path in life, and part of that path was that I survived."