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Builder praises “fantastic free service” provided by local air ambulance

Builder praises “fantastic free service” provided by local air ambulance

Two years ago on June 7th, the Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA) landed in school playing fields near Dave Hutchings’ home in Syston, Leicester when he fell off a ladder and fractured his back.

The helicopter was launched from its East Midlands Airport base by the local ambulance service, as it was feared that Dave’s injuries may have required him being treated and flown to a major trauma centre with specialists in spinal injury care.

Fortunately for Dave, after assessment by the air ambulance critical care team at the scene, it was agreed that it wasn’t necessary and so he was taken to the local hospital – Leicester Royal Infirmary – by land ambulance instead.

“The air ambulance crew were so impressive and very professional. They were brilliant and arrived so quickly. I was put on a scoop stretcher to immobilise my spine for the drive to hospital and they remained with me until we left the scene.”

“I know the air ambulance is a charity and receives no government funding so I feel very guilty that they came to my rescue and then didn’t have to fly me to hospital. It proves that they really are there for you,” he says.

Dave (55), a self-employed builder, sustained wedge fractures to two vertebrae and was only kept in hospital for a day. He returned to work after six weeks and has been able to carry on working since the accident despite ongoing back problems.

Dave was chopping branches from the top of conifer trees in his neighbour’s garden when he fell off the ladder.

He crashed to the ground in an area of stinging nettles and branches. Despite being in excruciating pain and in shock he managed to get up and stagger to the lawn where he fell onto the ground and rolled from side to side in agony.

“On a scale of one to ten, the pain was nine. I knew I had done something bad but was relieved that I could still move my hands and feet,” he says.

Dave lay on the ground for about an hour. He used his mobile phone to ask a friend to come and clear away all his tools and move his van from the neighbour’s drive but didn’t want him to call the emergency services. It wasn’t until Dave’s wife Mel arrived on the scene an hour later that they called 999.

A keen biker since he was old enough to get a licence, Dave raised £200 for the local air ambulance by riding from John O’Groats to Land’s End in June 2017.

“With the number of miles I do, I thought the chances were I might – but obviously hoped I wouldn’t – need their services one day,” he says.

Ironically, within a year of completing the 880 miles trip in just 17 hours, Dave was treated by the DLRAA crew after falling from the ladder – an accident which had nothing to do with his motorcycle!

“Not for one moment did I think I would need the air ambulance in the circumstances that I did. What a fantastic free service it provides.  I feel very lucky that my injuries weren’t more serious and the helicopter was there for me should I have needed to be flown to a different hospital,” he says.

The 24/7 lifesaving service reaches its 40,000 mission milestone this June and relies on generous donations to make these missions happen – to find out more, please click here