Air Ambulance Week 2021 takes-off across the UK from 6th to 12th September, with air ambulance charities across the country delivering the vital message that Every Second Counts and Every Penny Matters when saving the lives of people with a sudden life-threatening injury or medical emergency.
Through sharing patient stories, the week raises awareness of how air ambulance charities save thousands of lives every year by rapidly delivering advanced lifesaving pre-hospital care directly to the side of patients at the scene of a life-threatening injury or medical emergency; essentially bringing the A&E department to the patient when every second counts towards survival.
The event also highlights that air ambulance charities collectively make over 500 lifesaving missions a week across the UK – a total of around 30,00 a year – providing vital support to the NHS and forming an important part of the UK’s frontline emergency services.
Each air ambulance lifesaving mission costs on average around £2,500-£3,500 and is almost entirely funded by donations. That’s why every penny matters and why Air Ambulances UK is calling on people all over the UK to support their local air ambulance to ensure they can continue to save the lives of people like father of two Chris, who was involved in a life-threatening collision with a car while he was out training for a 100-mile cycle challenge.
When Chris’s wife was first notified about the accident, she was told Chris wasn’t likely to survive.
But a team from the East Anglian Air Ambulance was tasked to provide critical care at the scene, landing on the Cromer Golf Club car park. The EAAA team worked for over an hour to deliver the enhanced pre-hospital care interventions required to give Chris a fighting chance. These included performing a thoracostomy, a procedure to release air to treat a collapsed lung, and anaesthetising Chris to take control of his breathing.
East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) team worked for over an hour to deliver the enhanced pre-hospital care interventions required to give Chris a fighting chance. These included performing a thoracostomy, a procedure to release air to treat a collapsed lung, and anaesthetising Chris to take control of his breathing.
He also had a suspected head injury and had broken several bones in his body. His injuries were classed as life-threatening and without the enhanced interventions of the air ambulance team, he would not have made it to hospital.
Fortunately, the team were able to stabilise Chris enough to be moved and he was flown to the major trauma centre at Addenbrooke’s for specialist treatment. Chris’ injuries were extensive and included three bleeds on the brain, several spinal fractures, including some damage to his spinal cord, a fractured pelvis, broken left shoulder blade, hip and ankle and several broken ribs on his right side. He has since suffered double vision, slurred speech and had to learn to walk and talk again. Chris also has nerve damage which still prevents him from fully lifting his arms up.
EAAA Doctor Chris Chadwick, who treated Chris, said:
“We could tell as soon as we arrived on scene that our patient, a male cyclist, was seriously injured. We worked quickly despite the hot day in full PPE to deliver an emergency anaesthetic and other critical care interventions. With the help of all the emergency services on scene, we were soon airborne and flying to the major trauma centre at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. We checked for updates over the next few days and hoped for the best but we knew he had extensive and serious injuries.
“I can’t tell you how glad we were to speak to Chris and his family over Teams many months later to hear about his incredible recovery and his indomitable spirit, supported by our very special Aftercare nurses.”
Without the enhanced interventions of the air ambulance team, he would not have made it to hospital.
“I’m still not 100% but I know how close I came to dying and I’m just so, so glad that I didn’t and so grateful to the East Anglian Air Ambulance that they were there to save my life. Having spoken to the team who treated me, there’s no way the ambulance service paramedics would have been able to deliver the enhanced level of care that the air ambulance team did, which saved me, so without them there’s no way I’d be here now to see my kids grow up.
How to support your local air ambulance charity during Air Ambulance Week
To celebrate Air Ambulance Week, Air Ambulances UK, Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland and Raffolux, the online raffle company, have partnered to launch the Every Second Counts prize draw, where people can enter to win an Audi Q3 and support their local air ambulance charity. To play please visit www.everysecondcountsraffle.co.uk.
Alternatively, you can get in direct contact with your local air ambulance charity and find out about other ways to donate by visiting https://www.airambulancesuk.org/air-ambulance-week-2021/
Simmy Akhtar, CEO, of Air Ambulances UK said:
“A sudden life-threatening injury or illness can happen to anyone, anywhere at any time. When it happens, every second counts towards survival. That’s why the vital lifesaving work of air ambulance charities is so important and why we are encouraging everyone to support their local air ambulance during Air Ambulance Week.
“With many air ambulance charities experiencing a significant rise in callouts and many fundraising activities over the past year being adversely effected by COVID-19, now more than ever, air ambulance charities need support to ensure they can save even more lives.”