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.”