A FERMANAGH farmer who recently underwent life-saving surgery after being crushed by a cow is raising awareness of the importance of farm safety.

“Farm accidents are something I always heard of, but never experienced on our farm – I never thought one would happen to me,” said Ian Beacom (24), from Brookeborough.

Ian was doing a routine job on his family’s dairy farm when the accident happened.

“I was putting boluses [a type of tablet] into cows. I had four cows up the crush [a structure designed to restrain cattle], and what you have to do is, you catch them by the nose and then you put this bolus in,” explained Ian.

“I got three of them done, and the fourth one, I couldn’t get her to lift her head up.

“Just in the heat of the moment, I jumped into the crush in front of her, which I obviously shouldn’t have done but I’d say I’ve done that hundreds of times before, it’s not as if it was the first time I’ve ever done it,” admitted Ian.

“It was a quiet cow – she wasn’t a wild cow, or I wouldn’t have got in. She was a quiet cow but something just spooked her, and she crushed me against the wall.”


Following the accident, Ian experienced pain on the left hand side of his abdomen.

“I thought I must have cracked a rib or something, because I got a right old squeeze,” said Ian, but as the pain wasn’t too severe at the time, he continued on with his work.

The pain started to get worse, so Ian decided to go down to his house to get some painkillers.

“When I went to the house, luckily mum was at home and she saw that I was in a lot of pain. She said she’d take me up to the hospital to get a scan in case I had broken ribs or something,” said Ian.

His mum took him up to A&E at the South West Acute Hospital, where following a CT scan it was discovered that his spleen had been ruptured in two places, and he was experiencing internal bleeding.

Ian was rushed into theatre for emergency surgery that night.

“Basically, the surgeon said that she’d have to operate on me then to save my life,” Ian told this newspaper.

Following the surgery, he was told by the surgeon that they hadn’t removed his spleen.

“They tried to save my spleen, because they said it would benefit me whilst I was so young, as it’s part of the immune system.”

He spent three days in the Intensive Care Unit before he was moved to a ward.

“I was one night in the ward, and then I took a turn,” said Ian, adding: “Basically, my spleen had started to bleed again, and I had to go back into surgery that night. I got the spleen removed then.”

Since his successful second surgery, Ian has been recovering slowly. He was in hospital for 13 days in total and was discharged last Wednesday, October 7.


Saying that he feels lucky to have “lived to tell the tale”, Ian is now raising awareness of farm safety.

“What happened was a freak accident – I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I shouldn’t have done it.

“I know I’ll obviously not do it again. I’ll know to take more care, and be more cautious,” said Ian, adding that his accident has taught him a lesson.

“I wouldn’t have had any fear before my accident of any cattle, because I would have been used to them, but it’s definitely taught me a lesson.

“It’s taught my family a lesson, and a lot of people a lesson.

“Sometimes we don’t realise it but these farms are dangerous places, and we sometimes take risks we shouldn’t.

“Look out for yourselves and each other out there – you only have one life and it’s more fragile than you think.

“Just because it’s never happened, doesn’t mean it never will,” added Ian.