Some of our patients have kindly sent us their stories and have asked us to print them for you to read ...
Suzy’s Story: ‘Thank you to the Air Ambulance you are incredible'
On the 26th July 2012, I had a nasty horse riding accident in the later afternoon on a yard near Fairford. I am a 24 year old equine vet nurse and compete at eventing alongside my job. I have previously competed at eventing internationally. The accident happened when I was breaking in a young horse. Luckily I had someone helping me and she (Lucy) was a star during and after the accident. The horse reared over and landed on top of me, he then rolled of me and then unfortunately rolled back across me to get up. The accident was an unfortunate freak accident, although it can come as a risk of the sport itself. However, it hasn’t put me off in any way! I may be mad but I love it!
The rapid response car arrived extraordinarily quickly, which was extremely impressive. Very soon after that a land ambulance arrived and then followed by another, then soon followed by the air ambulance.
I don’t really remember the time in the air ambulance; however I can remember the excruciating pain I was in during the short wait for the air ambulance. I was squeezing two people’s hands! Using them to try and ease the pain.
I am so grateful to the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance for arriving so swiftly and getting me to the John Radcliffe Hospital in order to have a prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Once I got to the John Radcliffe, it became clear that I had broken my back and pelvis. I also had a lot of nerve damage and other issues as a result of the accident. I ended up at the John Radcliffe for 3½ months, with various problems holding me back along the way.
I am finally at home and it is amazing to be with my family, friends, horses and dog!
I am extremely grateful to the team at the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance for everything they have done for me and transporting me swiftly to the John Radcliffe.
I am aiming to do the London Marathon and climb Mount Kilimanjaro in 2014 and I am going to fundraise and donate money towards the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance.
I really do think that the job that they do is incredible and I really appreciate it.
A Huge Thank you.
- Suzanna Hext
Vanessa Whiteley - 2012:
I don’t recall much about my accident or the initial period in which I was in hospital, as I was unconscious for the most part. Although I can’t fully recollect what happened, I will tell you what I know!
Early last year (2012) while playing in a polo match, my horse tripped and we both fell. She then rolled on me, trod on me and then kicked me in the chest and head (after my hat had fallen off). My mother tells me that within 15 minutes the BOB Air Ambulance flew in with the vital equipment and brave paramedics on board. A chest drain was made in my side, a brace was fixed round my head and neck and I was lifted into the helicopter quickly.
We arrived at the John Radcliffe extremely quickly and I was inspected for head injuries. Had I not been collected and flown to hospital as fast as I was, the pressure in my head would have caused some damage.
I spent 10 days in the John Radcliffe’s ICU and have been recovering ever since. Over a year has passed and having liaised with doctors, paramedics and some of the Air Ambulance team, the worries in my head have finally disappeared. I have also visited BOB and the crew at RAF Benson and was so proud to meet the courageous team behind the start of my positive recovery.
There is not enough space on this page to explain how grateful and amazed I am at the bravery and positivity of the whole team. I want to thank you all so much for saving me and most importantly giving my mother someone to trust and look up to during this horrible day for her.
- Vanessa Whiteley
Paul Forrester - Sat 30th September 2012:
I’m a keen biker and have ridden for years. Last year I decided to give off-roading a go and took up green laning (riding the byways and lanes). I also decided that I’d do a few competitions to build up my skill.
Well, on this fateful day I was out with two friends having a nice early morning ride in preparation for our next race scheduled in two weeks’ time.
We had started on the Ridgeway, as this was the last day we could ride it this year before it closed to motor vehicles for the winter, before taking a detour off some more difficult lanes heading out towards Lambourne. To be honest, I don’t recall the name of the lane, or really what happened next, but I do remember the pain as I laid there slightly under the bike with my right leg hurting rather a lot. I dragged myself away already knowing that something was broken. My two friends soon realised that I was badly hurt and called for an ambulance.
We always carry GPS equipment and plan our routes thoroughly however the emergency services were unable to pinpoint our location. It was about an hour before any emergency services got to me, but when they did everything started happening. The first paramedic on the scene (who got a lift on the back of another bike due to the ambulance not being able to get to us) realised that my injuries were serious enough to warrant an air ambulance. The team arrived and everything stepped into place, I remember clothing being cut and drugs administered, I had to be lifted over a barbed wire fence. I’m a big lad, so that must have been tough.
I sort of remember being put into the helicopter too, but could not tell by who or how. I remember landing in Reading, and some smiling faces, but the drugs were working and I was away in a better and more comfortable place by this time!
I was taken to the Royal Berkshire Hospital and remained in hospital for 15 days. I had fractured my tibia and fibula and shattered the lower part of my leg bones (snapped about an inch of the tibia clean off and had a spiral fracture up the fibula). I had also cracked my ankle joint which was not found until they operated 12 days following the accident. Unfortunately, the swelling was so bad they could not operate until it had gone down a bit.
I am now starting to weight bear 10 weeks after the accident, and things are improving with the aid of physiotherapy and home exercises. I hope to get back on my motorbikes and aim to start racing again but only time will tell. If it was not for the air ambulance I think I may have lost my foot/lower leg.
I owe the team a debt of gratitude, the professionalism of the team was outstanding and to think they are only supported by charitable donations was a shock. I for one will be doing my bit for them in the future.
Thank you all for what you have done and for what you will do for others in the future.
Emma Weston: My air rescue story
On 14th October 2011 I was airlifted by the BOB Air Ambulance to Southampton General Hospital after a serious riding accident.
I had been having a dressage lesson in an arena on my new horse when I fell and was kicked in the face. My left cheekbone and eye socket were smashed and I had a severe laceration from the left side of my mouth down under my chin, where the horse’s hoof must have struck, causing considerable blood loss. Luckily my jaw and teeth remained intact and I was very fortunate not to lose my left eye.
I had to be heavily sedated after the fall, of which I have no memory and I do not recall anything until I was ‘brought round’ more than 24 hours later in Intensive Care in Southampton surrounded by all sorts of tubes and machines.
It was all pretty bewildering. My husband and two daughters were at the Hospital and had to explain everything to me.
Initially a road ambulance had arrived on the scene of the accident but had quickly realised they needed the assistance of a doctor. As the Air Ambulance carries a doctor, the team from RAF Benson were alerted and stepped in (the Hampshire Air Ambulance was already attending a road accident).
It took the BOB Air Ambulance team of two paramedics, Jo Jefferies and Lisa Benson, plus Dr Abu Habsa and pilot Alf Gasparro just 7 minutes from receiving the call at 12 o’clock to fly to Easton just outside Winchester to arrive at the scene. They were able to land the helicopter close to the accident.
Apparently I was in an agitated state and my injuries were such the medics were concerned that I may have broken my neck. But, with the addition of severe blood loss and breathing difficulties, this posed the problem of how to load me onto the helicopter safely. I needed to be transported flat and straight but they also had to insert breathing apparatus.
My husband was waiting in A and E when I was brought in. The helicopter had to land in a field a mile or so away from Southampton General Hospital because their helipad had not been commissioned at that time.
I immediately underwent various X rays, scans and emergency surgery to stitch up my face.
During the following week I had another operation which involved the insertion of a titanium mesh plate to reconstruct my cheekbone and realign my left eyeball. I was able to return home after 8 days in hospital. I returned to work 6 weeks after the accident and have started riding again recently.
Amazingly, a year later, my face really does look much the same as before the accident. There is still a scar running from the side of my mouth under my chin, but it is fading gradually and I’m quite familiar with it now.
Recently I was thrilled to have an opportunity to visit the BOB Air Ambulance base at RAF Benson. Jo Jefferies and the pilot Alf Gasparro were on duty that day so I was able to thank them personally for their fantastic rescue mission and was fascinated to see the set-up there.
They probably saved my life.
November 2012 - A few weeks ago, I was at work when I received the phone call that no parent wants to get: “It’s Sophie. She’s had an accident. She’s fallen from the bedroom window.” My two-year-old daughter was at my parents’ home in West Berkshire, where she usually spends the day while I am at work in Newbury, and it was my poor mum having to give me the terrible news.
While I struggled to comprehend what she was saying, I could hear Sophie screaming in the background, which at least was some sort of strange relief, as I knew she was conscious, if in pain.
Rushing out of the office door - only just remembering to let a colleague know while I was leaving on the way, I rang my husband from the car and collected him outside his nearby workplace, and drove the five painfully long miles home, keeping in touch with the family by phone on the way.
“The paramedics are here, and they’re calling the Air Ambulance,” my mum told me. “OK - if I’m not there by the time it needs to go, you go with her,” I replied, feeling amazingly calm in the most awful of circumstances.
As we pulled up outside the house, I could hear the whirr of helicopter blades from the Community Orchard, meaning that the Air Ambulance had been able to land just a few steps away, having been flagged down by Mum and my nine-year-old so, who was being incredibly brave for his big sister.
Running across the allotments, I was met by a member of the Air Ambulance team, who was about to lead Mum to the helicopter in my absence. Explaining who I was, he told me that Sophie was already in the helicopter, being held in the arms of a paramedic, as they had to presume she may have suffered a spinal or neck injury in the fall, and this was a better way of keeping her still and calm, rather than strapping her down.
With a headset placed on me, I was led to the helicopter. Climbing in, Sophie saw me, and cried out “Mummy!”, both heart breaking and a little relieving at the same time with the realisation that she recognised me. She had a deep gash in her forehead, down to the bone, and her eye was swollen shut. I was strapped into the seat opposite her, and within seconds, we were rising above the field, my worried family watching as we flew off.
The Air Ambulance crew informed me that we were heading for Southampton General Hospital, as they had an excellent children’s neurosurgery team there, and the flight would take about 15 minutes. During the flight, despite understandable communication difficulties - we spoke through the headsets above the noise of the blades - the crew were brilliant at keeping me calm, asking if I’d ever been in a helicopter before (I had, but not under such circumstances), answering my questions about Sophie (I was concerned that she was losing consciousness, but was assured that it was probably the vibrations from the helicopter sending her to sleep), and keeping me informed on the progress of the flight.
It seemed surreal as we landed in Southampton, approximately 40 miles from home, to think that Sophie had arrived at the hospital well within an hour of her accident. As she was rushed on a trolley into A&E, where it seemed that dozens of medical staff were waiting for us, I’m not even sure that I thanked the magnificent Air Ambulance crew for what they had done. Within just a couple more hours, it had been confirmed that she was free of any brain damage or spinal injuries, and I allowed myself to begin to feel some certainty that long-term, she would be OK.
Sophie had suffered a fractured skull and eye socket, and underwent an operation the following day. Just five days after the accident, she was able to leave hospital, and within a few weeks, we had our crazy, bright inquisitive little girl back to full health.
Sophie still has some bad dreams about her accident, when she cries out in her sleep, but often talks about the day that she flew in a “cop-cop plane” to the hospital. As her family, we are so grateful that the Air Ambulance was available to transport Sophie as quickly as possible to a hospital which was able to provide her with the specialist care she needed.
As a result, we have undertaken fundraising for Thames Valley & Chilterns Air Ambulance, and will continue to support it in any way we can, so it can continue to help as many other patients as possible in the future.
Thank you so much to all the Air Ambulance team and crew, from Sophie and her family.
Gary Finch: My Story
On Saturday the 23rd of March 2012, I was playing for Holmer Green Football Club against Berkhampstead Football Club; it's seen as a local derby in our league and a game we were looking to win in a bid to ensure safety from relegation.
Despite being the underdogs on paper we had started well and were unfortunate to be losing by half-time. The second half started in a similar fashion from what I can remember with Holmer Green playing well but Berkhampstead were always looking the more dangerous of the two sides. Disaster struck for me with about twenty minutes left to play. During a Berkhampstead attack I moved across to challenge an opposing player who was approaching our by-line looking to cross the ball. As he made the cross and went to ground my left leg, with which I was hoping to block the cross, came down between his legs. With my momentum carrying me forward and my leg trapped between his there was only going to be one outcome...'SNAP!'
I felt and heard my lower leg give way; at this point I was still upright as my momentum had carried me to the barrier surrounding the pitch. I looked down and saw my leg severely deformed inside my football sock with what looked like the bone poking through on the inside of my leg and my foot hanging off to the outside. I managed to dive on the floor and rotate my body in such a way that I kept my leg elevated and as I slowly brought it to rest on the ground the pain hit.
It was like nothing that I had ever felt before! Serious, serious pain! From that point onwards I was in the hands of those around me and the response from certain individuals was amazing. The first to react was a team-mate, Sean O'Donnell, who immediately removed his shirt and placed it over my injury, so I or anyone else could not see the severity of it.
I can remember our club physio, Brian Hardy, and another team-mate, Tom Allabaster, being there straight away keeping me engaged in constant conversation and reassuring me all the time that everything will be okay.
Within minutes the first ambulance had arrived and then came the moment it felt I'd been waiting an age for - pain relief! A quick dose of morphine and things were looking better already. The side effect of this being that from that point on things became a little blurry and I can only remember bits and pieces.
I was aware that a further two ambulances had arrived and I can remember the increase in pain again as they had to cut my sock, shin-pad and boot off. I was then informed that they had radioed for an air ambulance and it was en route, I should have been excited at this point but I just wasn't in the mood. The helicopter arrived; I can recall the noise and wind and then came the worst part of the whole experience: I was told they needed to 'reset' my leg and seal the wound from the open fracture.
Despite the additional drugs (as good as they were) having someone manipulate my bones back into place while lying on a football pitch was undoubtedly the worst pain I have ever experienced. Still, it didn't take long and before I knew it I was on a stretcher being carried towards the helicopter. This was the point at which I passed out, or at least I think I did, for I certainly don't remember anything after that!
My first recollection following the accident is sitting up in a hospital bed waiting to go in for my operation! Although this was obviously one of the worst experiences of my life, I am fully aware that it could have been a whole lot worse had it not been for the people around me and those who treated me.
I have an endless list of people I wish to thank. There are too many to mention or remember but a couple of special thanks must go firstly to Tom, my friend and team-mate, who I can specifically remember being with me straight away and staying by my side through everything right up to the point I was airlifted. He even wanted to travel with me and I can remember the crew's response of, 'nice try mate!'.
Secondly, I have to thank the first responder and paramedics that arrived on scene. Their speed in getting to me was amazing and the interim treatment they gave me was undoubtedly a contributing factor in my expected full recovery.
And last, but certainly not least, I must say a massive thank you to the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust. The speed in which they go to me and in turn flew me to the John Radcliffe was truly remarkable and the expertise of the two volunteer doctors that I was fortunate to have onboard that day was without a doubt the deciding factor in how well I have been able to recover since that day. It truly is a remarkable service they provide and one that I personally will be forever grateful for.
I am now 5 weeks into my recovery and apart from the frustration and occasional stroppy moment I am doing really well. Movement and feeling is slowly returning to the affected area and I am due to begin physiotherapy next week. As stated earlier, I have been assured that a full recovery is expected and once again I owe a massive thank you to all those involved on that day for making it possible.
My Thanks go to every single person who helped...
My name is John Hearn and I am 69 years old.
On the 10th November 2010 the day started off as normal. I had swum 1/2 a mile the day before so I was feeling quite well.
My wife and I were getting ready to visit our friends for the day. I went upstairs to dress and don't remember anything for the next 2 weeks. My wife heard a crash and found me collapsed in the bathroom. She immediately phoned for an ambulance.
The paramedics arrived, followed closely by the ambulance. I was taken to the Royal Berks Hospital in Reading, with siren and flashing lights.
The decision was made to send me to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford as I was in a critical condition.
I had suffered an Aneurysm in my lower abdomen. The Air Ambulance came to my rescue because of the time factor. Without them I am sure I would not be here today, as they were working on me all the time I was in the helicopter.
I spent 4 weeks in hospital, 16 days of which were in intensive care.
My thanks go to every single person who helped me that day, including the surgeons and staff at the John Radcliffe Hospital.
A Child’s Story…
On 2nd May 2011 my youngest daughter Hannah was only 1 month away from turning 2. She was outside playing with her older sister and the back door was left open, my husband was washing the car and all seemed normal so I made myself and my husband a cup of tea. My refrigerator is located in my dining room, so I left the tea brewing on the kitchen worktop to go and get the milk.
As I was getting the milk, the most ear piercing scream came from Hannah. I went running into the hallway to see what was happening, and found her holding her head, stamping her feet and screaming and as I looked into the kitchen, all I could see was my mug of brewing tea all over the floor. Hannah had managed to reach up and knock the mug of tea all over her head, face, neck and left shoulder.
I immediately called my husband and removed her top before the skin and clothing had a chance to fuse together. Once my husband had Hannah, I called 999. Within seconds, we were told to put her in a tepid shower or bath and told help was on its way. Within minutes an emergency response unit had arrived. A few minutes after that a second crew arrived and then a third. They were all fantastic and helped calm us all down. My husband and I were panicking as we could see her skin coming off in our shower. After a short time of being at our home, one of the paramedics said that they wanted Hannah to be taken to hospital by the air ambulance. Hannah and I were then rushed off to the Rye in High Wycombe where we would be picked up by the air ambulance crew.
The crew on the air ambulance were lovely. We were helped into the air craft and I was informed where they were taking us and how long it should take. I was given head phones so I could talk to the paramedic who was in the back of the air craft with us. They all helped keep me calm and kept a close eye on Hannah. Within 10 minutes we had arrived at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Once there they checked her over and decided that we needed to be transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. We were taken there by ambulance.
Once there Hannah’s burns were cleaned and dressed and we left 2 days later. It’s now 6 months on from the accident and due to the great care and assistance we received that day, Hannah has been left with NO scarring. We think she has some recollection of the events of that day as she is very aware of hot drinks, but you would never know what had happened that day just by looking at her.
My family and I cannot thank all the crew members of the ambulance team and the air ambulance crew enough for all their help and support that day. I am forever thankful. Melanie, High Wycombe.
I am writing this story about my husband, who crashed in a light aircraft in March 2009. The Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance arrived on the scene very quickly and my husband was airlifted to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. After stabilisation of spinal fractures, repairs of other less serious fractures and emergency surgery for peritonitis, my husband began his long journey to recovery.
To survive an air crash is a miracle itself, but to survive and be able to return to normal life is possible only thanks to the quality of medical care received. The need for prompt care and treatment immediately after major trauma is widely acknowledged. This is exactly what my husband received. The speedy response and excellence of care offered by the crew of the Air Ambulance were exemplary and I am sure they contributed to providing the best possible outcome for my husband’s recovery.
Words are totally inadequate in expressing my deep thanks for what the Air Ambulance Crew did. Each day we wake up and remember how supremely lucky we are.
From my husband, my family and from me, thank you all.
To the Air Ambulance:
I was airlifted recently and am now at home recovering. I am so grateful for the service you provide and would like to thank Mark and Paul, my paramedics, for making my trip bearable with their cheery banter, and a thank you to the pilot for such a smooth ride.
I was on my way to pick up a colleague before going to work but had only been in the car for three minutes when I had a head-on collision with a heavy plant lorry.
I have no memory of the day but I have been told what then followed. The emergency services were first on the scene, and comforted me whilst we waited for the Air Ambulance to arrive.
I suffered a grievous blow to the head, resulting in brain trauma; I was therefore airlifted to the John Radcliff Hospital in Oxford due to their expertise in injuries of this kind. A crucial part of my recovery was getting me to the hospital quickly, as I was also suffering from severe brain swelling and several severed nerves.
Because of the distance from the accident to the hospital I was fully reliant on the Air Ambulance and its speed.
Upon arrival, I was induced into a coma and remained so for 11 days. Eventually I was moved to the trauma ward and stayed there for a further 5 weeks. I also temporarily lost the ability to see, feel, talk and even swallow.
By the time I was well enough to be discharged, doctors told me I was 'a miracle' as there was no way I should have recovered as well as I did, let alone within such a short space of time.
After a long and often painful process I am now as close to 'fully recovered' as I can possibly be, but there is no doubt that my 'miraculous' recovery was in great part down to the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance.
Words will never be enough to show how grateful I am, but from the very bottom of my heart: THANK YOU !
On May 9th 2009, just minutes after his 4th Birthday Party, our son, Tom, was in a collision with an oncoming car.
We knew immediately that we needed the Air Ambulance and when they arrived the crew took control. They stabilised and sedated Tom for his transfer to the John Radcliff Hospital in Oxford.
The new helicopter enabled his father to fly the 15 minute journey with Tom to hospital, and when they arrived the team of consultants, who had been alerted by the crew, met them at the entrance.
Tom had fractured his skull in three places, suffered bruising to his brain and broken his left femur.
Miraculously, he is recovering extremely well.
He has had the metalwork removed from his leg and has now been discharged by all the consultants.
We really wanted to give something back to the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance, to thank them for saving Tom’s life. We decided to hold an ‘Auction of Promises’ and invite friends over to ‘drinks and eats’ for a fun evening.
Everyone was unbelievably generous, and we raised a staggering £17,398 !!! We are so thrilled with the success of our event and excited about being able to hand over such a large cheque to the Air Ambulance, as our way of saying thank you for rescuing our little boy.
A herd of cows and a broken back:
One Tuesday in February, I decided I would take the dog for an early morning walk, despite it having snowed heavily overnight the morning was bright and sunny.
At approximately 7.30am I set off on the walk, crossing a field between Great Harwood and Adstock that contained a small herd of cows. Normally the cows took no notice of me or my dog, but on this day they behaved very differently. One cow knocked me down to the ground and another rolled over me, the herd then went into a mini frenzy of noise and trampling. In fear for my life I managed to get to my knees and let out an ear piercing scream which seemed to surprise them, it gave me time to crawl away to the edge of the field. The intense pain I could feel in my back told me I was badly hurt, but my main concern was that I may have suffered internal bleeding and I have a blood disorder that makes it hard for my blood to clot. The only thing left to me to do to survive was to crawl across two more large fields to A422 Buckingham Road.
Luckily some motorists saw me lying on the side of the road and stopped to help, calling an ambulance, the paramedics were very concerned about my back, internal injuries and the risk involved with internal bleeding, so the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance was called which arrived within 15 minutes. At this point I was in deep shock, freezing cold and in a huge amount of pain, but, the paramedics were so kinds, gentle and reassuring and I knew that was going to get the best possible help as quickly as possible.
I was airlifted to the John Radcliff Hospital in Oxford where it was discovered that my back was in fact broken in two places, requiring an operation to put two rods either side of my spine. Thanks to the Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance service I got the treatment I needed in the best possible time.
I am writing this story for my Father who had an accident in October 2008. My father and sister were out on an early morning walk, and whilst crossing a road he was hit by a car.
The emergency services were called and the land ambulance and the Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance arrived in minutes.
My sister also called my husband who arrived at the scene shortly after, he recalls the Air Ambulance crew were wonderful, keeping him informed at all times what they were doing, working on him for 45 minutes, they then told him they would have to take him to Coventry, although a distance from us at Milton Keynes, it was in fact the best hospital for his injuries, which consisted of: both legs broken, fractures to his spine and head injuries.
Dad was kept in a coma for a month, when the sedation was reduced he thankfully opened his eyes but his recovery was slow.
We are all unanimous in our opinion that if the Air Ambulance had not come to dad's rescue he would not be here today. Thank you on behalf of all my family.
Having been at Chinnor Bike Days on 4th July 2009 and speaking with the people from the Air Ambulance - here is George's story:
George was diagnosed with a brain tumour in May 2008, after suffering a Grand Mal seizure at school. He was immediately prescribed medication and an operation was scheduled for the end of June. Unfortunately George suffered a further Grand Mal on the 20th June and an ambulance was called.
First to arrive was a rapid response car followed shortly by the land ambulance (all of whom were fantastic). The lead paramedic decided it would be best for George to be airlifted directly to the John Radcliff hospital in Oxford. The Air Ambulance was called and arrived in minutes. I was amazed and overwhelmed by the pilot and the two paramedics who arrived, their first concern was obviously George but at the same time they were able to reassure me and his dad that things would be ok and talked us through each step as they were seeing to George.
We were unable to fly with George (this was before the days of the new EC135) but the knowledge that when I kissed him goodbye he was in completely safe hands has made a lasting impression on me.
George's operation was brought forward and was a complete success!! He has made a full recovery and having decided to defer going to college last September is now starting this year doing what he loves best - dancing!
Thank you! Thank You!!
THANK YOU SO MUCH from a VERY LUCKY LADY!
On a Friday in May I was involved in a collision with my car and a lorry. My poor husband was first on the scene as he was following a few hundred yards behind me in his car. I remember nothing of the impact - only briefly opening my eyes to see two inflated air bags. I recall telling someone that my head, chest and arm hurt and then a mention of a helicopter and being very gently carried across to the helicopter. I remember the gentle tilt as it manoeuvred and of very kind voices asking how I was - I reached for someone's hand for comfort and was given it.
I am delighted to let you know I was discharged from the hospital with no broken bones or very serious injury.
I am so grateful to all of the emergency services that attended the accident that day and am writing to offer my thanks and gratitude especially to you and your team for such a wonderful service and for such a caring response which I recognised even through the morphine haze!
Thank you so much with very best wishes from a very lucky lady!
A Thank You from Tring Lakes!
One minute I was out walking happily with my wife, along the path we are very familiar with, next thing I remember is being on board your Air Ambulance soaking wet and very confused. We all realise accidents happen, but it's always someone else! - What a fine balance between happiness/contentment and trauma.
As I have explained to everyone concerned, initially, the response from the general public was outstanding, in particular the first guy on the scene, along with a first aider and many other people that assisted at that crucial time keeping me warm until your people arrived.
Being aware of the area, I must congratulate the pilot for his skill and ability to land his craft in such difficult terrain. Without a doubt the professionalism of him and the rest of the paramedic team saved my life!
The one thing that I am now aware of is....... your reliance on public funding, in order to provide this very important and crucial service. With this in mind, I certainly will arrange along with my solicitor to amend my Will, in order to make a significant donation to your valuable service.
Once again many thanks (seems inadequate in some way).
Les and Ann
My four year old daughter...
My four year old daughter was admitted to Milton Keynes hospital feeling very poorly with fluid in her lungs and had to be transferred to John Radcliffe. The air ambulance was called in to help.
I was very upset as I could not go with her as there wasn't enough space, you didn't have your new ambulance then. My little girl looked so small wrapped up on the stretcher, but the crew and medical staff were very sympathetic to my distress and looked after her with such wonderful care and attention.
When we arrived at the hospital in our car we saw the crew and they took the time to talk to us and to tell us that our little girl was fine and safe in the ward, playing with a glove one of the crew had blown up to entertain her.
My daughter remembers something of the day, but was not frightened by her experience, which for a poorly little girl, separated from her parents, going on a helicopter with three 'strange men' is quite impressive. We would like to say a big thank you to the air ambulance for the care they took of our little girl who was only four years old at the time.
Beware of the pressure hose!
"Having cut the grass with my golf course size mower, I thought I would clean it up with the pressure hose. When finished I stood alongside the mower, on reflection I must have directed the pressure jet on the reverse pedal and as a result ended up on the yard with the machine on my leg which caused multiple breaks to the bones in my lower leg. Being some distance from the house, my calls went unheard until finally, by chance, my wife came outside.
The 999 call was made and within a short space of time the Air Ambulance arrived and transported me to hospital. Unfortunately, or fortunately, my journey was a blur because of the morphine administered to help with the pain.
Time has passed, recovery has been good and I can once again cut the grass, but this time I ALWAYS carry a mobile phone! I owe a great deal of gratitude to the Air Ambulance and crew for looking after me and my speedy transport to the hospital."
Drivers - Always look out for Motorcyclists:
One sunny afternoon my husband and I decided to go out for a ride on our motorcycles. After a while the occasion arose for me to overtake. I performed my checks and started to overtake but as I became level with the car the right hand indicator came on and the car pulled out and collided with me.
The next thing I remember was lying in a ditch. I drifted in and out of consciousness and each time I opened my eyes there were different people around me. One lady had stopped and was holding a towel to stop the bleeding - thank you whoever you are - then the land ambulance arrived. Realising the extent of my injuries the air ambulance was called which thankfully arrived within minutes.
Whilst on board the Doctor kept talking to me the whole time. He repeatedly asked me my name, telling me to stay with him. Soon we arrived at the hospital and he talked me through the landing where I was whisked off to theatre. I was asked to sign a consent form in case they had to amputate my leg.
The next day I regained consciousness after a seven hour operation, thankfully with my leg still attached. I asked what had happened to me - several breaks above and below the knee, broken collar bone and jaw, just for starters. I had also lost over 6 pints of blood.
To everyone's surprise I left hospital after just one month, improving with sheer guts and determination. I still have problems and need to attend clinic, I also have to use a walking stick, but to most people I am a walking miracle.
If it had not been for the paramedics and Doctor and the speed in which the Air Ambulance transported me to hospital, I certainly would have lost my leg and I am sure I might not have been here today to tell my story."
Hospital to Hospital:
"You carried my wife safely to another hospital when she needed to have an emergency operation.
Thank you so much, and thank you to the paramedics who made my wife feel safe."
A Mother's Story:
"First day of half term - a lay in - not for my son, he woke screaming from the pain in his head. I rushed him to Wexham Park Hospital, where immediately Doctors checked him for meningitis and sent him for a CT scan. This showed that he was in fact having a brain haemorrhage and the bleeding was over two lobes of his brain.
Speed was of the essence. The Air Ambulance was called to transfer him to the Neuro Department at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Upon its arrival he was so safely and very carefully loaded into the helicopter along with all the extra equipment.
The journey took 11 minutes; by road it would have taken at least 45 minutes assuming there would be no traffic. When he arrived a team of Neurosurgeons were ready for him. The speed and efficiency of the medical team and the air ambulance has enabled my son to make a full recovery.
My family and I must express our deepest gratitude and thanks to all that helped, but a special mention to those wonderful and caring people in the air ambulance."
Richard's Story by his wife:
Richard was running the Marlow half marathon, when just 100 metres from the finishing line he collapsed in front of me, his sister and youngest daughter.
We rushed to his aid and struggled to get him into the recovery position, two off duty policemen who had run the race behind Richard came to assist us. Despite mouth to mouth resuscitation and heart compressions all efforts to rouse him failed. Attendants from the nearby St Johns Ambulance service provided an oxygen mask and his heart was shocked by a defibrillator. At this stage I honestly thought Richard might die. The next thing I saw was an air ambulance paramedic run from the helicopter which had landed at the finishing line on the school field, he took over from the policemen inserted an airway and secured the oxygen supply. It was decided it would be quicker to airlift him to Wexham Park Hospital rather than take him in a land ambulance. I had not expected to be able to travel with Richard in the helicopter, but this was indeed possible and I felt a huge relief and gratitude to be able to stay with him.
The journey took just over 4 minutes.
The doctors have told me that Richard owes his life to the policeman and the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance service, it looks like he will make a full recovery in time, for which we are extremely grateful.
Richard has started running again, and later this year hopes to run to raise funds for the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance.
A Beautiful Sunny Morning
A Husband's Story:
I was involved in a motorcycle accident in July 2010 which resulted in a severe head injury and the loss of my beloved bike. I cannot remember anything about the event of that day but have been told that i was airlifted by BOB and crew to the John Radcliffe Hospital, where I underwent brain surgery. My first memories are of 7 weeks later when I found myself in rehab.
I am still suffering from on-going problems, and realise just how much I owe to the air ambulance for their rapid response, without them I may not have made it to this day! I recently met my rescuers as i wanted the opportunity to thank them personally. They explained the event of that day from their view, which was a big help to me.
I would like to say a big THANK YOU to all concerned.
The Wife's Story:
My husband and I set off on our motorbike on a beautiful sunny morning in July 2010 for what we thought was going to be an enjoyable ride. Our pleasure was cut short when we were confronted by a driver pulling a dangerous manoeuvre, which resulted in my husband being thrown from his bike.
An ambulance was called, soon followed by BOB and crew. The whole team worked calmly and efficiently even when my husband became quite agitated, not knowing where he was or what had occurred. They quickly realised that he needed urgent attention. I was informed that he was being flown not to the nearest hospital but to the John Radcliffe, as this was the most appropriate place under the circumstances. It was only at the hospital that it became clear how vital this rapid response was.
He sustained a serious head injury with fractured skull and bleeding on the brain. This was followed by swelling, resulting in a operation to remove a section of his brain. During the next five weeks he remained in a coma, with various complications including a period when it was not known if he would make any further improvements. However, with the fantastic care which he received both before and during his stay at JR and two additional hospitals he is now on the long slow road to recovery having finally been discharged in January 2011. There is no doubt that without the initial speed with which he was transferred to hospital the outcome could have been much worse.
We have been fortunate enough to meet BOB and his team at RAF Benson. Having them explain their actions following notification of the accident has helped both my husband and myself to come to terms with what happened on that day.
We will always give our support to the TVACAA trust, BOB and the crew as we know how much we owe to them all.
An icy winter’s day!
On 11th February 2009 I was driving in Maidenhead with my 15 month old baby in the car when I hit a patch of black ice and went straight into a tree. Of course, I can only tell you what I have been told, I broke my pelvis, and sustained a serious head injury, and they even suspected I had broken my neck. The police officer later told my family that I wasn't even expected to survive the helicopter journey, but I did and was airlifted to the John Radcliffe.
Once there I was put in an induced coma for 10 days. What I have to come to realise is that it is not the primary brain damage that is the most devastating, but the secondary brain damage that is caused by the swelling and pressure build up. But thankfully I was incubated on route and airlifted speedily to the best neuro-intensive care unit in the country. It was a long recovery but today, 2 years on, I feel I am back. I am back working as a scientist and am able to enjoy being a mum.
Thanks to everyone and I still cannot understand why such an important service is not funded by the government.
I was air lifted to the Great Western Hospital on the 10th July 2010 after the horse (Canna) I was riding at pre-exercise reared up on his back legs, lost his balance and landed on me. For the first five minutes I had no feeling in my legs and had acute pain in my back. Wearing my back protector definitely helped. The air ambulance arrived in less than 10 minutes and on arrival at hospital I had a thorough examination and scans. The scan revealed two old fractures in my back. After all this I was back to work after 1 week.