Tractor hoist gets paralysed farmer back in the driving seat

A Co. Louth farmer who was paralysed as a result of a car accident has designed an innovative hoist to ensure that he can continue to keep agriculturally active.

Martin Murphy, from Tullyallen, Co. Louth, spoke to RTE News about the hoist he designed that enables him to independently get in and out of his adapted tractor, so that he can go about his jobs on the family farm.

The 37-year-old worked as a carpenter and part-time farmer prior to the incident which left the young man paralysed from the waist down almost six years ago.

Speaking to RTE, he said: “In April 2013, I was on my way to work; I had a single-vehicle accident. I fractured one of my vertebrae and I needed an operation to support it.

“Unfortunately, the operation wasn’t a success; as a result of that I ended up being paralysed from the waist down.”

Operated automatically, using a pulley system with an electric remote and a removable seat, the set-up allows Martin to enter and exit the cab of the tractor in a smooth transition without assistance.

“Before the hoist it was quite awkward; I used to be thinking of ways of trying to get into the tractor, so I used to try and lift myself up into the tractor, try climbing across the chicken coop roof and stuff like that.

“I wanted to try and be more independent, so that’s why we came up with the hoist.

It’s great for the head and stuff like that. Being able to come down and help out – instead of being helped, for a change. It’s fantastic. It’s great to get back into doing something constructive.

The farmer added that it was good to be back working with his father in the yard too, where the duo enjoy “having the banter”.

“It was great to get my independence back and to be able to do it myself.

“The wife would come out and I’d be gone!

“She’d just come out and see the wheelchair sitting in the middle of the driveway and no tractor and no me,” Martin said.