Advancements in pre-hospital emergency care, delivered by highly skilled staff via helicopter and emergency response vehicles, are resulting in many more lives being saved. Their skill and expertise, and access to lifesaving equipment help to vastly improve the chances of surviving life threatening injuries.
Boyes Turner’s personal injury team have helped many seriously injured clients who have survived potentially life threatening injuries as a result of the swift intervention of air ambulance services within the Thames Valley and Hampshire areas.
In support of Brake’s Road Safety Week theme this year, “Road Safety Heroes”, Boyes Turner’s personal injury team pay tribute to the air ambulance heroes who have helped save the lives of our clients.
Client A was a pedestrian who was hit by a van and suffered multiple orthopaedic injuries to her upper and lower limbs, spine, pelvis and chest, a head injury and collapsed lung. The injuries were life threatening and our client required a blood transfusion at the scene of the accident. Thanks to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, our client survived and was taken to a local major trauma centre for ongoing care.
Our client described the surreal moment of regaining consciousness with a sense that everything had changed. She wasn’t even sure that she was alive. She recalls being told by the air ambulance crew to watch the helicopter rotors because when they slow down it means the air ambulance is close to the hospital. The surgeon who treated her said that if the accident had happened 10 years ago she would not have survived her injuries or the journey to the hospital.
The anaesthetist who accompanied her in the air ambulance later visited her in hospital. This meant the world to our client, who told us: “It really helped because he was someone who was linked directly to my accident and was a part of that experience. It was like a shared experience in a way”.
Client B suffered severe injuries in a road traffic accident two years ago when the car he was driving was involved in a collision with another vehicle which performed a U-turn from a layby directly into his path. He suffered a life threatening head injury, including an open fracture of the skull, and bleeding into the brain from a subarachnoid haemorrhage. He also had multiple fractures to the bones of his face, his arms, legs and spine, and two collapsed lungs. His Glasgow Coma Scale score (an indicator of a person’s level of consciousness and the severity of their brain injury) was 3/15. He needed emergency life-saving surgical procedures (involving opening up his chest) at the scene. He was airlifted to John Radcliffe’s major trauma centre and discharged to a rehabilitation unit for ongoing rehabilitation and care.
His sister told us: “The intervention of the swiftly mobilised and highly skilled Thames Valley Air Ambulance team proved vital to my brother's survival - and prevented us from facing life without him. Our words cannot express the enormity of our gratitude to these very special and dedicated people who provide such a phenomenal service. True heroes. “
Air ambulances bring the accident and emergency department to the accident scene. The quick and skilled intervention of the air ambulance staff can involve administering pain relief, assisting with breathing, treating open wounds, performing lifesaving surgery and preventing accident victims from dying from their injuries.
Thames Valley Air Ambulance started in 2000. In 2016, Thames Valley Air Ambulance, in partnership with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, increased their service provision across the South Central Ambulance area providing coverage for 19 hours a day, 365 days a year.
In October 2021 alone, Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) had 242 call outs and treated 157 patients. Both charities have increased their services through provision of emergency response vehicles, advancements in pre-hospital emergency medicine (on scene blood transfusions, emergency surgical procedures and diagnostic equipment), state-of-the art technology, and a growing number of highly trained staff who support the service and make a difference to patient outcomes.
Each helicopter flight costs £3,750. TVAA receive an average of seven call outs per day. Like many of our clients, most of their call outs are to road traffic accidents. They fly out to accident victims across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and can reach any accident location within 15 minutes from their base at RAF Benson.
They also provide an aftercare service through their patient liaison team who meet patients and their families and help them to “fill in the gaps” about what happened to them, their injuries, and how the team saved their life at the accident scene. Many patients who cannot remember anything about their accident find this service hugely beneficial to their recovery process.
Like all air ambulance services, Thames Valley Air Ambulance is a charity and does not receive any government or lottery funding. They rely on charitable donations and fundraising.
When our clients have suffered major trauma in an accident through no fault of their own, our personal injury team can include the costs of the air ambulance service that they received, so that this money can be repaid to the charity to help them help someone else.
If you or a family member have suffered brain injury or serious disability in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence and would like to find out more about making a claim, contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.