Alister Sayer, aged 19, was at his first day of work on the Bath Riverside housing development when he popped to Sainsburys to get some lunch. As he walked through a car park, he was smashed into by a speeding car, suffering horrific injuries to his legs.
Two months later, after spending almost two weeks in hospital, Alister visited Great Western Air Ambulance Charity’s base to personally thank the Critical Care Paramedics and Doctors who helped him. He said: “I wanted to visit the base to say thank you to the crew. I never really knew much about the air ambulance until now. It was really interesting to hear about it, and what the crew do. You never think you will need their services, but if someone in your family was hurt you would want these guys to help them. They do an amazing job.”
Following the accident Alister was airlifted to the new trauma centre at Southmead Hospital. He was the first patient to be airlifted to the unit, and the first trauma call for the department. Alister’s mum Emma and twin brother Oli visited the base with him, where they were shown the helicopter by pilot Jim Green, before talking to Critical Care Paramedic Neil.
Emma said: “It was an awful situation for a mother to be in. I knew he was hurt, but I didn’t know how bad it was. This makes me realise how crucial the air ambulance is, without it and the team on board the outcome could have been completely different.”
Alister had broken two bones in his right leg and one in his left and spent two weeks in hospital after undergoing surgery. One of his legs swelled so much, and the circulation was so bad, doctors feared drastic surgery was needed, and he could have been left permanently disabled.
However thanks to his determination, and the skill of the people who treated him, he is walking again.
GWAAC work to the gold standard Critical Care Model, which means rushing a critical care paramedic and critical care doctor to the scene via helicopter or air ambulance. Essentially we are a flying Accident and Emergency Department, bringing the hospital to the patients. The team work 365 days a year and attend more than 100 incidents per month. Within five minutes of a 999 call to our base the aircraft is in the air, and no more than 20 minutes later the team are anywhere within the region that we cover.
This means that one patient in five – a patient otherwise expected to die – survives.