Why we fly

Chris’s Story

I am so grateful to the air ambulance flying me to a hospital where I could get the right treatment I needed as quickly as possible. I am not a medical person, but I know that made a huge difference.

Chris Rollings

Getting a patient to hospital for the definitive care* they need as quickly as possible is crucial to their immediate outcome and long-term recovery.

So when motorcyclist Chris Rollings lost control of his bike and was seriously injured during an amateur race at Cadwell Park Circuit in Louth, Lincolnshire it was a very lucky coincidence for him that the Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance was already at the race track –  having been called out to a previous accident which when they arrived didn’t require the patient to be airlifted.

Being at the scene of the accident when it happened meant that the air ambulance critical care doctor and paramedic were immediately available to treat and sedate Chris for his injuries before flying him to Hull Royal Infirmary – the nearest major trauma centre.

The flight took just 13 minutes compared with a journey by road in a land ambulance of over an hour – by the quickest route with no traffic hold ups.

It would also have taken the helicopter 25 minutes to fly to the race track from its base at East Midlands Airport so that time was also saved – meaning Chris (58) got the definitive care he needed over 70 minutes faster.

“I am so grateful to the air ambulance flying me to a hospital where I could get the right treatment I needed as quickly as possible. I am not a medical person, but I know that made a huge difference,” he says.

Chris, from Birstall in Leicester, describes himself as “a born-again biker” having started club racing in 2017 after having enjoyed motorcycling when he was younger.

On the day of his accident – in September 2020 – he was about two thirds of the way through the race when he lost control of his bike on a left-hand bend before going down a steep hill.

“I am told the bike went into the air and landed on my shoulder. Luckily, I was wearing the latest safety gear including an air bag suit which was activated. I am very grateful that it worked as without it my injuries would have been worse,” he says.

Chris had fractured and dislocated his left shoulder; fractured his left arm; broken six ribs; damaged two discs in his back and punctured a lung.

He spent nine days in hospital where he underwent an operation to pin and plate his arm and pin and reconstruct his shoulder.

After being discharged, he had to wear a spinal brace for two months and have further surgery to repair his shoulder. He is now undergoing intensive physiotherapy to assist with movement in his shoulder.

Chris knows that had he not got to hospital as quickly as he did, he could be in a much worse situation now.

“The air ambulance is fantastic- and I was so lucky it was already at the race track when I had my accident. It is really important that people support the local air ambulance as being a charity they rely on donations to remain operational. Lockdown has forced the charity shops to close and fundraising events have been cancelled so this is really vital now. Anyone could need the services of the air ambulance at some point in their lives so please donate if you can,” he says.

 

*comprehensive care for the full spectrum of injuries beyond initial assessment and treatment.