“I am immensely grateful for the rapid response of the air ambulance." - Great Western Air Ambulance Charity
“Elise still has the potential to lead a happy and fulfilled life, thanks to GWAAC.”
February 20, 2016
Cyclist Jordan meets crew who saved his life
September 1, 2016

“I am immensely grateful for the rapid response of the air ambulance.”

It was a very windy and cold day in December, but John Richardson was determined not to let that stop him from heading out on his usual run along Weston beach. What he didn’t expect is that he would end it being transported to hospital in a helicopter.

John was due to be spending Christmas at his daughter’s house, and knew there wouldn’t be much chance of going out for a run. So he decided to get a quick run in before, and headed out on his usual route along Weston beach.

It was a very windy day, and John had his head down and was powering along. However he failed to see a metal barrier on the sand, and ran straight into it. The force knocked him off his feet, and he quickly realised something was badly wrong. His foot was at an odd angle, exposing the bones in his ankle, and he was in a lot of pain.

Another runner and two windsufers rushed to his aid, and called for an ambulance. When the paramedic arrived he realised it was a serious compound break, and called for the air ambulance. It took us about eight minutes to get to the scene from our base in Filton, and we landed on the beach close to John.

Critical Care Paramedic James Yates and Critical Care Doctor Adam Brown assessed John’s injury. They sedated him at the scene, which then allowed them to manipulate his ankle back into place.  Then came the decision of which hospital to take him to. John was closer to Weston Hospital, but the team knew that the severity of his injury meant he needed the specialist team at Southmead Hospital.

The flexibility of the helicopter means that we can focus on getting the expert care of our team to the patient as quickly as possible, and then transporting them to the hospital best suited to their needs. In John’s case it was Southmead, and we flew him there in just eight minutes.

In total, John spent nine days in hospital over Christmas, and had two operations in which a graft of skin was taken from his thigh and used on his ankle. After 4 weeks he was allowed home, and began physiotherapy. John said:

“I am immensely grateful for the rapid response of the air ambulance getting me where I needed to be with minimum fuss, and maximum speed and professionalism.”

If you or someone you know has been helped by the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity team, we’d love to invite you to meet the crew who help you. You can get in touch using our ‘Contact form.