Doncaster Wetherspoons turns away brain injury woman because they thought she was drunk

Danielle Stoton
Danielle Stoton
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THE FAMILY of young woman who was refused service at a bar because her brain injury was mistaken for drunkenness has called for more awareness of how people cope with head trauma.

Staff at a Doncaster pub refused to sell drinks to Danielle Stoton, 19, who was seriously injured in a car crash 18 months ago.

She had been out with her mother, Michelle, and another friend who had also suffered serious injuries in a crash, at The Gatehouse Wetherspoons pub on Priory Walk, in the South Yorkshire town, on Saturday lunchtime.

Wetherspoons has apologised, said it will retrain its staff and offered to meet with Miss Stoton to try and resolve the situation.

Michelle Stoton, 42, from Armthorpe, Doncaster, said: “It was a huge step for Danielle to feel able to go to a busy bar and order drinks.

“It was a reflection of her growing confidence and a big step in her recovery, but what happened has been a nightmare and reinforced how difficult it is for her to do something as simple as ordering a drink.

“My daughter had made amazing progress and is really determined to live independently and come back stronger, but this has just been a real setback for her.

“We want to make sure people know about the symptoms of brain injury and educate people as to how to help deal with them.

“Danielle carries an ID card from the charity Headway to show she has a brain injury and, despite showing this to the bar staff, we still had a problem.

“We want to make sure everyone knows about this incident so that it raises awareness of brain injury and the consequences of brain injury. Survivors of brain injury need the support of society to help them move on with their lives.”

After Michelle put the story on Facebook, it was shared more than 3,300 times and generated more than 500 messages of support from members of the public.

Miss Stoton was seriously injured in a horror hit-and-run crash in the Armthorpe area of Doncaster, in August 2014.

The driver of the car which hit the teenager was later jailed for eight months.

Caroline Mitchell, from Irwin Mitchell solicitors, said sadly it is not uncommon for those with a brain injury to be mistaken for being drunk because of the way they walk or speak.

She said Headway, the Brain Injury Association, suggests that brain injury survivors carry a Brain Injury Survivors ID card to raise awareness of brain injury – but unfortunately showing this did not appear to help.

Ms Mitchell said: “What has happened will be a blow to Danielle’s confidence, but hopefully she will now bounce back, staff at the pub will learn from this and others will take note.”

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We apologise wholeheartedly to the lady.”