Double amputee impaled on fence for five days – but DWP says he’s still fit to work


A traumatized double amputee who lost both legs after being impaled on a fence has still not been officially declared disabled nearly a year later.

Dale Whitehurst’s grueling recovery, which has left him in 24/7 agony and phantom pains, has left him trapped in a never-ending ‘bad dream’.

And he says the “limited” amount of benefits he’s receiving means he’s struggling to make ends meet.

As previously revealed by the Mirror, the 44-year-old from Wolstanton, Stoke-on-Trent, miraculously survived for five days upside down in scorching heat last summer when his ankles were impaled on metal safety rails.

Dale has since endured a torrid period trying to come to terms with it all, saying local council and the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) only added to his woes.

Although he believes he is in line with the Reduced Ability to Work and Work-Related Activities Bill (LCWRA), he said the DWP remains on its heels, blaming a Covid backlog for the delay.

And with a decision pending almost a year after the accident, Dale has to get a new “fitness” certificate from his doctors every few months to prove his situation hasn’t changed.

Dale is now confined to a wheelchair



He’s just learning to walk on prosthetic legs



Being placed on LCWRA would mean additional financial support with no expectation of a return to work.

Meanwhile, Stoke-on-Trent City Council has reportedly told him he owes almost £400 on an emergency package set up after he was discharged from hospital.

Something he said he was assured didn’t need to be repaid at the time it was issued.

And what he said didn’t help him much since the orderlies who come by are not allowed to help him physically, just make cups of tea.

“I have more money going out than I come in,” Dale told The Mirror.

“Meanwhile, I have nothing left [DWP] sitting around thinking maybe my legs will grow back.”

Referring to the LCWRA salary, he added: “I should get this automatically – I’m a double amputee. How much more restricted do I have to be?”

Dale has to undergo regular medical exams to prove to the DWP that his situation hasn’t changed


Dale Whitehurst)

The 44-year-old lost his legs last June after being impaled on a fence


Dale Whitehurst)

He said one of his doctors also called the constant need for medical checks “ridiculous.”

After his accident, Dale and his longtime partner, who is also in a wheelchair and whom he had cared for full-time before his accident, separated after 16 years.

They had a joint Universal Credit account, but it was deposited into her account.

When Dale arranged his own separate claim, he said he humiliatingly had to go down to the unemployment office to show them his bank card.

“I’m like: I don’t have any legs,” he said.

“To get up there I have to get a friend to come over and get me in and out of the car, it’s not easy.

Both legs had to be removed below the knee


Dale Whitehurst)

Dale battled infections for months after the amputations


Dale Whitehurst)

“Then come to the job center and show yourself a bank card for three seconds. I can do that over the phone.

“You wouldn’t have it,” he said.

Months after the accident last June, Dale was finally awarded PIP – a benefit for the additional living expenses of a long-term medical condition or disability.

And in total his benefits – and total earnings – come to £1,175 a month, the DWP has confirmed to the Mirror.

When he got out of the hospital, Dale said that no care package had been put together and that he hadn’t received his prescription pain medication for nearly 10 days, during which time he was in pain.

Dale slipped trying to climb over this security fence near his home


Dale Whitehurst)

Finally, after a few weeks, the council agreed to set up an emergency package, but as soon as it received PIP, it demanded that it return the funds for the package, it claims.

“I filled out expense forms and they said you don’t have to pay anything because you don’t earn enough to contribute,” he explained.

“Seven months later I had just received my PIP and it was like they hid it in a drawer and as soon as they saw it show up on the computer I got PIP which they billed me for. They sent me an invoice.”

And because the PIP was retroactive, he has to pay for care for the entire time he received it.

He explained what the package consists of: “All they did was send two young girls around to make themselves a cup of tea and a sandwich – one of them once looked up how to use the stove on YouTube.

He was left dangling with impaled ankles for five days


Dale Whitehurst)

He said his life is now a nightmare


Dale Whitehurst)

“What shoud that? I need help moving, I need a shower but no they are not allowed to lift or go shopping.”

One of his leg wounds, due to infection, took months to heal before he could learn to use prosthetics.

He said he feels like a “prisoner in my own home, trapped within these four walls” as he deals with the trauma of losing his legs.

Dale went on to say that the painkillers often had little effect, particularly on the phantom mental pain he was feeling.

“My brain remembers that I once had limbs and [my brain] goes through the trauma sensations all day every day and it feels like my missing limbs and feet are being crushed,” he explained.

“I can’t do anything I used to do, I don’t live, I only exist within these four walls – this isn’t life, so it’s a daily struggle.

“I’ve never asked for anything in my life, now I need everything.”

Dale is haunted by memories of the ordeal in which he dangled upside down for five days last June after his ankles were impaled on a security fence.

And when he was finally found and taken to the hospital, the initial amputation had to be done so quickly that he was given a spinal epidural, meaning he was awake for the surgery.

“I looked a nurse in the eye and heard bone saws and instructions to cut off my leg,” he said.

“It’s all like a bad dream I’m stuck in. Maybe I died and this is my hell,” he added.

A spokesman for the DWP said the LCWRA assessments are being conducted by an outside company and it is unclear how long it will take for Dales to be completed.

While that trial is pending, he said Dale has no “job-seeking obligations on his UC entitlement” but “will not have any formal status until the assessment takes place.”

The spokesman clarified that he is “currently technically exempt” from having to seek work or be available for work.

“The assessment then decides which category you fall into and some are in what is known as restricted working capacity and work-related activity – meaning you are unable to work now and are not expected to prepare for work in the future to prepare.”

The Mirror has reached out to Stoke-on-Trent City Council for comment.

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