Great Western Air Ambulance Charity: Stuart’s Story
“I remember the feeling of uncontrollably falling and being unable to stop myself from hitting the trailer beneath me.”
Stuart landed on an exposed strut that was sticking out of the bed of a rusty trailer beneath him, causing him serious life-threatening injuries.
“I was in immense pain, but I had no idea of the injury I had suffered. I now know my condition was critical. I had broken my femur and I was bleeding out from my femoral artery.”
Stuart’s girlfriend immediately ran to the neighbours for help and called 999. This is when our Critical Care Team was dispatched to the scene, with Critical Care Doctor Glyn, Specialist Paramedic Pete, and Trainee Critical Care Doctor Jamie on board.
Stuart was suffering from heavy internal bleeding and was in a lot of pain. GWAAC’s crew needed to stabilise his condition at the scene before they could move him. They administered blood-clotting drugs, as well as antibiotics and advanced pain relief before moving Stuart into the back of a land ambulance and escorting him to Southmead Hospital’s major trauma centre.
“I do not remember being moved from the trailer into the ambulance but I remember waking up and seeing the ambulance roof and a number of paramedics and Critical Care doctors looking over me. I am pretty sure that the fast-acting Critical Care doctors saved my life that day.”
Upon arrival, GWAAC’s crew handed Stuart over for emergency surgery to stop the bleeding and assess his leg.
“I was told that there was a high chance that my leg would be amputated. I was in theatre for approximately six hours where the amazing surgeons managed to save my leg. I had an artery transplant to regain blood flow to my leg.”
Following surgery, Stuart had a tense few weeks of not knowing whether he would ever regain movement in his leg, but just days before Christmas, he was allowed back home having been taught to walk again.
“I was worried that I would be unable to ever do my livelihood again. My job as an agricultural engineer is fairly physical and relies on being able-bodied. I feel so thankful for the support I received on the ground from the air ambulance as well as the surgery and aftercare the NHS provided me.”
Just eight weeks after his accident, Stuart was able to return to work on light duties, with extensive physiotherapy. He got the opportunity to say thank you when he visited the base with his partner, Millie, in November 2021. Critical Care Doctor Jamie Vassallo, and Specialist Paramedic in Critical care Pete Reeve, said they very much enjoyed catching up with Stuart and were thrilled to see him doing so well.
“I felt privileged to visit the base and to have the opportunity to thank the team that saved my life last year. They truly are heroes!”