Chesterfield teacher forever grateful to local air ambulance after severe cycling accident
Chesterfield teacher Sharon Stone lost control of her bike as she was riding down a steep hill in the Derbyshire Dales.
“I knew I was going to come off so, hoping to have a soft landing, I tried to aim for the grass verge on the other side of the road. Unfortunately my left leg hit a telegraph pole with great force,” she explains.
The injuries were severe with Sharon sustaining a segmented fracture of her tibia and fibula and compartment syndrome – a painful condition that occurs when pressure within the limb builds to dangerous levels. This pressure causes decreased blood flow, which prevents nourishment and oxygen from reaching nerve and muscle cells; quickly causing a permanent limb threatening injury. She also broke her left hand.
Passers-by stopped to help and the friend Sharon was cycling with called the emergency services.
A first responder arrived at the scene of the accident – between Stanton in Peak and Rowsley – followed by the Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance.
The helicopter landed in a nearby field and the critical care paramedic and doctor on board were soon able to give Sharon strong analgesic drugs – normally only available in hospitals – to control the pain and relax her for the flight to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, the nearest major trauma centre where she would get the best treatment for her injuries.
“I was made very comfortable and don’t remember being in lots of pain. In fact, I was more worried about the nettles at the side of the road stinging me than my leg hurting! “she says.
Sharon describes it as “a beautiful spring morning” when the accident happened in April 2017 and she recalls looking out of the helicopter window when they were flying over Sheffield and “seeing the city sparkling below me”.
“Despite being so badly injured I was very comfortable and quite relaxed considering the circumstances. It’s amazing that such qualified people came out to me, gave me the drugs I needed, looked after me and got me to the best hospital for my injuries and ongoing care,” she says.
It took just eight minutes to fly from the scene of the accident to Sheffield compared with a bumpy road journey of approximately 35 minutes.
Sharon was in hospital for three weeks and during that time she had three operations to repair the damage to her leg and hand.
She had to have an external fixator attached to her leg twice and was unable to work much of the time it was in position.
However, a year after the accident Sharon enjoyed a holiday cycling from Morecambe to Bridlington and now regularly goes on rides of up to 50 miles.
“I will always be grateful to the local air ambulance for the care they gave me, and taking me to a hospital where I got really good quality care. Because the incident was in quite a remote location, I think travelling by land ambulance would have been much more traumatic and obviously would have taken a lot longer.”
“I think it is amazing that the air ambulance is available for anybody in serious trouble and is operated by a charity. It was quite an eye-opener to find out that it isn’t funded by the Government and the helicopter keeps flying thanks entirely to donations and fundraising,” she says.
Missions like Sharon’s wouldn’t be possible without the generous donations of the public. Your local air ambulance has continued to provide frontline critical care throughout the pandemic and needs support now more than ever as it launches its brand new lifesaving helicopters early next year! To support your local air ambulance, please click here.