Why we fly

Jill’s Story

I knew I had broken my leg as soon as I saw it was facing the opposite way to where it should have been, but I didn’t realise at the time how serious it was and that I could have lost my leg – or even my life – if I didn’t get to hospital quickly.

Jill Chamberlain

Enjoying an active retirement in Kegworth, Jill Chamberlain knows her life could be very different now had she not been flown to hospital by the local air ambulance after a horse riding accident on 15th December 2008.

In what she describes as “a freak accident”, Jill (70) broke her left femur and right wrist when the horse she was riding slipped and fell down.

Jill’s foot was still in the stirrup when the horse got up and galloped away – to be caught later by a local farmer – but she managed to free herself and fell to the ground.

“I knew I had broken my leg as soon as I saw it was facing the opposite way to where it should have been, but I didn’t realise at the time how serious it was and that I could have lost my leg – or even my life – if I didn’t get to hospital quickly,” she says.

The local air ambulance landed in a field in Butt Lane, Normanton-on-Soar near to where the accident happened.

The doctor and critical care paramedic gave Jill strong pain relief medication before straightening her leg and putting it in a splint ready for the three minute flight to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.

Moving a limb back into the correct alignment helps with the pain and also helps reduce blood loss if there is bleeding into the muscle.

Jill had an operation the next morning and had to spend three weeks recovering in hospital – which included the Christmas Bank Holiday.

“It took a long time to get better and I was on crutches for four to five months. I said I would never get on a horse again but I did – and I still enjoy riding now,” she says.

Jill is forever grateful to the local air ambulance for being there in her hour of need and appreciates that the critical care she received at the scene of her accident and swift journey to hospital played a crucial part in her recovery.

She says: “Who knows where I could be today if the helicopter wasn’t available when I needed it. The local air ambulance does such a brilliant job.”

Jill and her husband Ged are regular supporters of the local air ambulance and their granddaughter likes to go to the charity’s shop in Ashby-de-la-Zouch to spend her pocket money.

“She gets some good bargains there and it is a great way to support the charity. You never know when you might need to get to hospital quickly like I did, so I think we should all do what we can to help finance the local air ambulance as it receives no government funding and relies totally on donations and fundraising to keep flying,” says Jill.