The speedy response of Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance was crucial to the recovery of teenager Laura Palmer after she sustained life threatening head injuries when her car crashed into a wall.
“I don’t believe she would be here today if it wasn’t for the helicopter flying her to hospital so quickly. The air ambulance got her to the right place in time to get the lifesaving treatment she needed,” says her Mum Sally.
Laura was driving to work near her home in Newbold Verdon, Leicester in February 2018 when her car wheel clipped a grass verge causing her to skid into a wall. She sustained a serious head injury which led to a blood clot on the brain.
Laura was cut from the car. It was immediately apparent that she had a brain injury so she was put into an induced coma by the air ambulance crew with the assistance of East Midlands Ambulance Service clinicians and a doctor from the East Midlands Immediate Care Scheme (volunteer doctors who assist the East Midlands Ambulance Service).
She was transferred onto the helicopter which took just eight minutes to fly her to the trauma unit at University Hospital Coventry.
Sally (Mum) had been picked up from work by the police and rushed to the hospital to be with her daughter. By the time she got to the Accident & Emergency Department Laura was in the emergency area still on the stretcher used to air lift her and her Dad (Mark) arrived a few minutes later.
Laura was then moved to the Critical Care Unit where she remained stable until the fourth day when her brain swelling was so severe that she needed to have a craniotomy operation to relieve the pressure.
For the next 24 hours it was touch and go if Laura would survive as she had little to no brain activity. It was an agonising wait for all her family and her boyfriend Fraser to find out how she would be.
Thankfully her condition slowly started to improve and she was kept in the induced coma for 12 days. “We didn’t know if she was going to make it or not,” says her Mum Sally.
She adds: “I felt reassured from the beginning knowing that the air ambulance had attended Laura’s accident. This ensured she was air lifted to a specialist head trauma hospital which would give Laura the best care needed for her recovery.”
Laura spent four weeks in critical care before being transferred to the neurosurgical rehabilitation ward at Leicester General for five weeks recovery.
Laura had the operation to have her bone flaps put back into her skull in August 2018 but after a recent scan it was disappointing to discover that her bones had not taken and she is waiting surgery for metal plates to now be put in.
However, Laura has made a remarkable recovery and is back driving and working fulltime as a healthcare assistant and enjoying life with a holiday to Thailand and climbing Mount Snowdon to name a few of her adventures.
“My story could have had a very different ending without the air ambulance crew getting me so quickly to the surgeons and critical care team who I needed to keep me alive. Without them I would not be here today,” she says.
Laura has set up a JustGiving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/laura-mystory to raise funds for the local air ambulance in recognition of what they did for her.
“I want to show my thanks to the air ambulance by raising funds. I’m hoping by sharing my story more people will be aware of how important this service is to all of us, as they save so many people’s lives – just like mine. I’m hoping to do a charity fundraising event later this year to help reach my target,” she says.