Me most of all
Medical staff frequently go beyond what one can expect to help us, and recently it was dramatically brought home to me why so many of us hold the Emergency Services in high regard.
A young relative (just crawling) had fallen into a pond. An Air Ambulance had been called to fly him to the local General hospital, He fell into a pond, and by the time he was found, had stopped breathing. But to the rescue came the local Air Ambulance service (funded by a charity), and the local General Hospital – where the family saw just how brilliant NHS treatment can be working at the cutting edge.
In the words of Lee, one of the superb Air Ambulance paramedics,this is what happened on board the helicopter that went to help.
Helimed 24 , the Air Ambulance for Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire was manned with Pilot Gez Charlton and Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Paramedics Gerry Lea, Adam Broom and Lee Mayne at its base at RAF Benson. In the ambulance control room in Bicester manning the Special Incident Desk (SID) was HEMS paramedic Clive Stevens.At 1709 Clive rang sending us to a drowning in a pond involving a baby boy. . By 1711 the team were airborne,. These emergency teams don’t waste a second, and whilst Gerry in the front passenger seat was concentrating on the navigating Adam was looking up drug dosages and Lee was detaching the suction unit from the aircraft for its probable use.Five minutes later they were overhead the village. We were all looking out for ponds and/or people. We could see neither. We contacted Clive to get a better location or to get someone outside make themselves known to us. Meanwhile we did about 3 circuits of the village all desperately looking for signs of our patient. Then one of us spotted two women running into a field with one carrying a child.The next thing we saw was CPR being carried out on the child; we then knew what we had to deal with. Sometimes you go to things that are given as very serious but on arrival are not. Gez made a direct approach into the field as close as was safe to the patient. As we were about to touch down, looking across to our right we saw the child being picked up by his arm, looking like a rag doll! A desperate sight that is ingrained in our minds now.By 1719 we were out of the doors. Gerry got the baby from Mum and started mouth to mouth CPR. The stretcher was cleared of all our equipment bags and he was laid on it. Adam got an I gel airway out for Gerry to insert. Adam then placed an EZIO needle into the patients leg. Lee connected the monitoring and defib pads and took a temperature. The front paramedic seat was turned rearwards so that all three of us could have hands on the patient en route . All our bigger bags were crammed in the front foot well with some smaller bits of kit that could be needed in flight on the rear floor. Once completed we got the Mum and grandmother to move away from the helicopter. A land crew was also coming to the scene and would look after and transport the family to hospital. We were now ready to leave. All this had been done with the noise and turbulence of the rotors running. We took off at 1726 heading for the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford.Gez did not need to be told to fly as fast as possible. Likewise, the SI did not need to be told what our intentions were. Clive had already alerted the hospital and arranged a crew to meet us at the helipad. During the flight one dose of Adrenaline was given and CPR continued. Seven minutes later we landed at the pad at Oxford. We carried the baby the short distance to the ambulance before being driven to A&E. From there it was a trolley push into Resus 3 where we were met by a full team of medical staff. He was placed on the hospital bed and a handover given. Sometime later whilst doing our paperwork we saw the desperate sight of mum and dad arriving.Before leaving to go back to the helicopter we received a glimmer of hope when we were told that the hospital had got a pulse back.
The massive team worked on the baby 24 hours a day, until four days later he started pulling out all the tubes and drips – so they decided he could go home. He had to return for tests on his brain, but everything is fine.
During this time, the Helicopter crew said they received regular updates about the baby and his steady gradual improvement. Some via the phone but a couple of times Gez, after taking other patients into hospital would pop into ITU to see how Lucas was doing. Eventually we got the amazing news that he had been sent home with no ill effects from the incident. This was backed up when six weeks later on the 26th April, our patient, all his family, extended family and a lot of cakes came and visited the crew and helicopter at Benson. A truly amazing and emotional time for all with a huge number of photos taken by everyone.