Why we fly
Jim G’s Story
I survived, thanks in no small part to the care I received from the air ambulance critical care doctor and paramedic, and of course pilot, and then being airlifted to a major trauma hospital so quickly.
Jim was cycling up a hill in the Peak District when he was involved in a collision with an oncoming motorcyclist who was overtaking a car.
The impact severed his right leg below the knee, he sustained an open fracture of his pelvis and a broken shoulder.
“I was extremely lucky that there were two First Aiders in passing cars and they managed to stem the bleeding. One of them used his shirt to make a temporary tourniquet. They called 999 immediately and because they knew the serious extent of my injuries did all the right things keeping me still until the emergency services arrived,” he says.
Jim (48) was out cycling with his wife Elizabeth – an exercise they did regularly during lockdown – on the road between Hayfield and Chinley, a very rural part of the Peak District, when the accident happened in July this year.
He remained conscious after he was injured and clearly remembers the noise of Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance as it landed in a nearby field. But at one-point Jim started to lose his sight and feel drowsy and he thought he was saying a last goodbye to Elizabeth.
“When I think back about what happened that’s the most upsetting thing about the whole scenario, but thankfully I survived. Thanks in no small part to the care I received from the air ambulance critical care doctor and paramedic, and of course pilot, and then being airlifted to a major trauma hospital so quickly,” he says.
In fact, Jim did not pass out and he remembers being treated by the air ambulance crew who put a second tourniquet on his leg.
He was given analgesia before being secured to a special “scoop stretcher” and then was loaded on to the helicopter. He clearly remembers being briefed about the noise it would make and how to communicate with the doctor sitting alongside him by using a thumbs up or down signal to indicate how he was feeling.
Due to the severity of his injuries it was imperative to get Jim to the definitive care and subsequent surgery he needed as quickly as possible.
It took just 11 minutes to fly him to Royal Stoke University Hospital, the nearest Major Trauma Centre with a helipad – which meant that Jim arrived in the hospital’s Emergency Department within seconds of the helicopter landing.
“Everything about the air ambulance service I received was really professional and slick. I wouldn’t really expect any less, but I did assume that it was funded by the government. If the charity didn’t raise enough money to keep the helicopters flying then it wouldn’t have been there for me and it won’t be there in the future to make a huge difference to other people’s lives,” he says.
Three days after he was admitted to hospital Jim underwent major surgery on his leg and pelvis. He was told to expect it to take up to eight weeks before he was well enough to go home but, amazingly, he was discharged after just 13 days.
Since the accident Jim has been undergoing physiotherapy sessions twice a week and is now working from home part time. He is waiting for the swelling in his leg to go down so he can have a prosthetic limb fitted below his knee.
Having found out about the charitable status of the local air ambulance, Jim’s family and friends have raised £3,200 – enough to fund two air ambulance missions.
“I want to share my story because I think it is important to get it out there exactly what a difference the local air ambulance makes in emergency situations. We all expect it to be there when we need it but unless people make donations and fundraise for the charity it won’t be,” he says.