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Patient expresses his thanks for still being alive on 4th anniversary of lifesaving air ambulance flight

Patient expresses his thanks for still being alive on 4th anniversary of lifesaving air ambulance flight

Four years ago on May 23rd, Dave Farmer was a patient flown by Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA).

Now retired and enjoying life as a grandfather, he says not a day goes by that he and his wife Kate don’t think about the local air ambulance and how different things could have been if he hadn’t been airlifted to hospital after being involved in a road traffic collision in a remote part of the Peak District.

“We are just so grateful that I am still here and we can enjoy our retirement and grandchildren together,” says Dave (59)

When the accident happened he was driving along Winatts Pass near Castleton when he saw a car speeding towards him on the approach to a bend in the road. He pulled over immediately but this instinctive action wasn’t enough to avoid the near-fatal collision that followed when the car went into the air, zig-zagged out of control and bounced towards him.

In a split second Dave’s car was in flames after the oncoming vehicle flipped and landed on top of it.

Dave doesn’t remember anything about the impact and found out later that he was pulled out of his burning car before the flames took hold.

He was unconscious and had multiple injuries, including a fractured skull and collapsed lungs.

The critical care team on board the helicopter – which included a doctor and two critical care paramedics – assessed his condition and conducted emergency surgical procedures at the roadside to enable Dave to breathe easier due to his chest injury.

He was loaded onto the helicopter which had landed nearby and flown to North Staffordshire Hospital in Stoke – a flight which took less than 10 minutes.

Within an hour of the accident happening in rural Derbyshire, Dave was being treated in the Major Trauma Centre for his injuries.

By early evening, to the delight of his concerned family who were waiting at his bedside in intensive care, Dave was awoken from his induced coma which the DLRAA team had commenced at the incident site.

During the following week he spent in hospital, Dave had plates put in his broken jaw and was treated for broken ribs; skull, eye socket and neck fractures and two bleeds on the brain.

He has been left with some loss of hearing and vision, acquired dyslexia and ongoing problems with his wrist and fingers- but does not complain. He says:

“The main thing is that I am still alive. My overriding emotion after everything is that I am very grateful to be here. My grandson was only four months old when the accident happened and I have seen him grow up and his sister come into the world.”

“My wife and I have taken part in three street collections for the charity and are happy to do anything we can in the future to help out. But no words and no amount of fundraising can express my and my family’s gratitude for saving my life. What we have been through has been horrendous. I am lucky to be alive and people should know that it is all down to the air ambulance.”

Dave, who lives in Crewe, says as well as seeing his grandchildren grow up in the past four years he has enjoyed helping his grown-up children James and Emily move into and do work on their own properties. He is now looking forward to giving his daughter away when she gets married.

“I nearly lost my life but thanks to the air ambulance I didn’t. The current Covid-19 crisis has made me even more thankful for being alive and has put what happened to me into perspective,” he says,Lifesaving missions like Daves’ would not be possible without public support. Your local air ambulance crews have been continuing their lifesaving missions throughout this difficult period – to find out how you can support your crews, click here