Steve and Chris Mudd with their dogs.
Steve was walking two of his dogs on his usual morning walk in Marston, near Devizes, on 30 January 2019 when he slipped and broke his left leg.
He snapped both bones (the tibia and fibula) in his lower leg, resulting in an open fracture.
A land ambulance attended and the crew treated him, but due to the nature of the break Wiltshire Air Ambulance was dispatched.
Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s paramedics are specialists in critical care and the crew gave Steve a strong drug, Ketamine, to sedate him. This allowed the crew to straighten his leg and splint it in order to improve blood circulation to his lower leg and foot.
Steve, who was aged 62 at the time of the accident, said: “Until my fall I had walked our dogs on the same route round my village for 27 years. I was 150 yards from home when I fell. It was frosty and I slipped.”
Villagers who saw Wiltshire Air Ambulance land in a nearby field assisted the crew by carrying Steve on a stretcher to the helicopter.
Steve was airlifted to the Royal United Hospital, Bath, in six minutes. He was flown in an MD 902 helicopter, which Wiltshire Air Ambulance was using due to their Bell 429 helicopter not flying.
Later the same day Steve was transferred to Southmead Hospital, Bristol, for treatment.
A nasty break
Steve said: “The break was a nasty one and the consultant surgeon warned me that I might lose my leg.”
Steve underwent a ten-hour operation two days later and a rod was put in his leg, together with a metal plate and screws.
Skin was also taken from his thigh to graft on to the wound and for some time doctors were worried that an infection could get into the bone.
Steve was discharged from hospital after three weeks. He had a cast on his leg and was unable to weight bear for several weeks. He used a zimmer frame, then crutches and finally a walking stick.
He underwent physiotherapy and began walking unaided seven months later.
Steve, who is retired, said: “When the consultant told me that I could lose my leg I pledged that if the operation went well I would go to Cornwall with my wife, Chris, and our dogs to go walking. Thankfully, I achieved this.
“Back at home I’m building up my daily walks with Chris and our dogs.
Supporting Wiltshire Air Ambulance
Chris fundraised for Wiltshire Air Ambulance on her Facebook page after Steve’s accident and the couple are planning to do more fundraising.
They are customers of the charity’s shop in Devizes and plan to leave a gift in their Wills to the charity.
Steve said: “Without Wiltshire Air Ambulance and the orthopaedic surgeons at Southmead Hospital I’m certain the outcome would have been very different. Wiltshire Air Ambulance will be a beneficiary in our Wills because they are self-funded and they need every penny in order to help other people.”
“It’s remarkable how much you take for granted in life. What happened to me was a wake up call, it has made me realised how lucky I am. Until my accident I went through life not thinking I would need Wiltshire Air Ambulance, but how lucky I was that it was there for me when I needed it.”
Steve and Chris visited Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s airbase, in Semington, a year after Steve’s accident where they met James Hubbard, a trainee critical care paramedic and who was a member of the crew who treated Steve.
Steve Mudd with James Hubbard, trainee critical care paramedic at Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
Steve said: “Meeting James was terrific and I thanked him and his colleagues for helping me. We are very impressed with the charity’s airbase and seeing how the paramedics and pilots work. I’m in awe of what they do, but they are only able to do that because of donations the charity receives.”Back to life stories