Dave's Story from Chippenham

On Monday 7th June 2004, the Wiltshire Air Ambulance came to my aid after I was involved in a road traffic collision whilst riding my motorcycle in the Chippenham area (A420 between Chippenham and Allington).  I sustained multiple injuries, mostly to my left leg, with the most serious being an open fracture to my left femur which had severed my femoral artery and quadriceps muscles.

When I came to a rest on the ground it felt like time stood still, I wasn’t in pain at first but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to just get up.  I had landed awkwardly and I knew I had seriously injured my leg, but the fact it didn’t hurt worried me more than anything.  A woman who witnessed the accident came to my aid, she was a little shaken, but knew that I had to stay still and stayed with me until the paramedics arrived.

Once the paramedics treated me things started to get a little hazy, the pain had started to kick in and I was not in a comfortable position.  I could soon hear the Wiltshire Air Ambulance whirling away in the background; George Lawrence, Richard Miller and Kevin Reed had come to my rescue.  I can only remember a few bits, whether I was dropping in and out of consciousness I don’t know, but Richard and the other paramedics were focusing heavily on my leg and I wasn’t helping by getting very agitated.

I was soon all strapped up and being carried across a field and into WH99, I remember the side door closing and Richard saying a few words before the engines started up.  This is the last memory I have of the day.

On Friday 11th June I had a quick glimpse of life; I saw a nurse and a doctor looking through a folder whilst attending to my leg.  I’d been placed in an induced coma and was soon heading back into it.  I regained consciousness the following week, with my family by my bedside in the Intensive Treatment Unit at Bath RUH.  I knew very little of what had happened; I couldn’t move my limbs and I could barely turn my head to see my family and friends.  I was later moved to the Forrester Brown Ward where my treatment continued until I was discharged.

I left the Bath RUH on 13th August, four stones lighter and in a wheelchair - clutching a pair of crutches.  The outcome on my left leg was still unknown.

In September 2008 I could stand up on my own two feet and get around on crutches, although unable to fully bear weight on my left leg.  The following month I visited the Wiltshire Air Ambulance for the first time, everyone was very friendly and greeted me, even the guy in the control room busy on the telephone stuck his head around and waved.  I was shown around the Air Support Unit and taken outside to see WH99.  I also met and thanked George Lawrence.

In July 2009 I took my first unaided steps after five years of physiotherapy and over twenty operations on my leg.  Countless medical professionals have helped me get back onto my own two feet, but none of this could have happened if it wasn’t for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.  Every surgeon and specialist that has treated me or read my medical file is amazed I survived my injuries, or at the least that my left leg had not been amputated.  The care and treatment Richard and Kevin gave me along with the flying skills of George was the start of it all, without these three guys and their wonderful flying machine I would not be here today.

Thank you to everyone at the Wiltshire Air Ambulance – every one of you is a hero.