Why we fly
Ryan Mullins (13) sustained a serious brain injury and nearly lost his life when he was involved in a collision with a car whilst riding his bike home from school in Hinckley, Leicestershire.
At the time he was being bullied for wearing a cycle helmet so he didn’t have it on when the accident happened – which meant his skull took the full impact of the fall when he hit the ground.
Minutes before the collision, Ryan had phoned his Mum Nicola Jordan at work to tell her he was on his way home. Not long after that her husband Paul got in touch to say there had been a serious road accident and to warn her colleagues about traffic delays in the area.
“I said in jest that I hoped it didn’t involve Ryan and Paul said of course not. Then ten minutes later he phoned back to say it was Ryan. I was in shock. I work five minutes away and a colleague drove me as close to the accident scene as she could get, I then ran the rest of the way crying. I wasn’t allowed near Ryan, it was horrific,” says Nicola.
By now Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance was at the scene, along with a land ambulance and fire engine which happened to be passing at the time of the accident.
Due to the seriousness of his injuries and his declining condition, Ryan was put into an induced coma by the air ambulance doctor. He had a fractured skull and collar bone and was fitting.
“I was told that Ryan’s condition was life threatening and his best chance of survival was to be taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital by road. It was getting dark and there isn’t a landing pad at the hospital so it would be quicker to go by road. The air ambulance crew went with him and I followed in a police car.”
“When we arrived at the hospital the air ambulance doctor gave a report of what had happened to the waiting medical team and Ryan was given a full body scan immediately.”
“We were told later that if Ryan hadn’t have been put into the induced coma by the air ambulance doctor he would not have survived. It didn’t just save Ryan’s life but prevented the whole family from having a life of trauma and sadness if we had lost him,” says Nicola.
She and husband Paul spent three weeks constantly at their son’s bedside, spending only a few hours with their daughters Cerys and Phoebe who were being looked after by friends and relatives.
“The doctors told us that because Ryan had suffered a serious brain injury they could not predict what the outcome would be. A MRI scan revealed that he had had lots of small bleeds on the brain. It would be months and years rather than days and weeks before we knew what the long term damage was, “explains Nicola.
However, despite this frightening prognosis, when Ryan was taken out of his coma he made incredible progress and was eating, drinking, talking and walking within three days of waking up.
He was discharged from hospital three weeks after being admitted and after physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy was well enough to go back to school eight months later.
Ryan (now 14) says he is “very grateful” to the local air ambulance for saving his life. “I think all the crew are incredible,” he adds.
He had an emotional reunion with Dr Ali Husain – who treated him at the scene of the accident – when the BBC made a film about Ryan’s accident, rescue and recovery for The One Show.
The whole family has pledged to be lifelong supporters of the local air ambulance charity and have already raised over £1,500 by organising a raffle, selling goods on EBay and donating unwanted items to their local air ambulance charity shop.
“Without the air ambulance we wouldn’t have Ryan. We are forever in their debt and, as a family, will do all we can to help keep the helicopters flying to save other lives,” says Nicola.