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Sheffield horse rider shares story to highlight importance of local air ambulance in rural areas

Sheffield horse rider shares story to highlight importance of local air ambulance in rural areas

Three years ago, on 10 March 2018, Karina Tape was attended by Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance after she seriously injured her right leg when she fell off her horse.

Thankfully she made a speedy recovery and is still rides horses, but she doesn’t underestimate the difference the local air ambulance made to her recovery and how important it is to people in rural areas – especially those who ride in remote locations.

“I don’t know what riders would do without the local air ambulance. We are often in out of the way locations when accidents like mine happen. The care I got from the critical care crew was incredible. They were really knowledgeable, understanding and reassuring and got me to hospital very quickly,” she says.

An experienced horse rider, Karina (46) fell off her horse Will when he started cantering at speed as she was in the process of remounting and only had one foot in the stirrups.

She was out on a regular hack with two other riders and had dismounted from Will to help one of the others get back on her horse after she had got off it to open a stile.

“When I landed on the ground, I immediately felt that something bad had happened to my leg. This was confirmed when I saw my foot was not vertical but at the four o’clock position. I found out later that I had broken my tibia, fibula and dislocated my ankle,” she says.

Karina rang 999 and called friends to make sure that her horse, who had galloped off, was found and taken back to the stables.

She managed to move her leg, but it had to be reset by the doctor from Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance before she could be put onto the helicopter.

“I was given a dose of ketamine before he did the procedure, so I don’t remember a lot about the flight. However, I know the crew had to lift me over a gate on the stretcher to get me to where the helicopter had landed,” says Karina.

It took just 9 minutes to fly her from the bridleway near Gildingwells in Nottinghamshire to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.

The surgeons there had to use 10 pins and a plate to repair her leg and she was sent home wearing a cast a week later. After two weeks the cast was replaced by a leg brace and when that was removed – just three months after the accident – Karina started riding again.

“The doctors were amazed at how quickly I was able to walk again. I think this is because of the treatment I was given at the scene of the accident by the air ambulance crew and the fact that I kept myself physically and mentally fit when I was recuperating.”

Karina wants to share her story to raise awareness about the importance of the local air ambulance. She says:

“The service is operated by a charity that receives no government funding and it relies on donations and fundraising to remain operational. Ongoing lockdown restrictions for the past year have caused huge losses to the charity’s income so I urge anybody who can afford to do so, to support the local air ambulance. I am proof that you never know when you might need them.”

“I will always remember my accident and how vulnerable I felt when I realised how badly damaged my leg was. Knowing the helicopter was on its way and I would get the medical attention I required quickly was such a relief.”

The charity will officially be launching its brand new replacement aircraft on 10 March and need the public’s support now more than ever as they enter service on the frontline – helping to save lives. To read more, click here.