Air ambulance praised for saving life of crash appeal for helipad is launched

Karen Hallett
Karen Hallett
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A woman who suffered a broken neck and other bones in an horrific road accident has thanked the air ambulance for saving her life.

Karen Hallett, of Boston, was driving near Horncastle in spring this year when she lost control of her car and crashed into a ditch.

A passer-by stopped and called paramedics, who found Karen struggling to breathe as she was being strangled by her seatbelt.

“I was still conscious when the ambulance arrived but I don’t remember much about the accident or being cut of out of my car,” said Karen.

“The paramedics called the air ambulance straightaway when they realised how serious my injuries were. Given the location of the accident – right in the middle of nowhere – the helicopter was a godsend in terms of getting me to hospital fast enough to have a fighting chance of survival.”

Karen’s neck was broken, along with her leg and several ribs and vertebrae.

On arrival at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, Karen’s injuries were assessed and staff found that she was unable to maintain her oxygen levels. She was put in an induced coma and stayed in intensive care for 10 days. Once her condition stabilised, Karen was moved to the Major Trauma Unit where she stayed for more than four weeks before being discharged.

Speaking ahead of this week’s National Air Ambulance Week, Karen said her recovery is going well. “I’ve just had a review at the QMC and my neck collar has come off now.

“I’m still waiting for the broken leg to heal, which will take a few more weeks. But I’m now in a plastic boot instead of a cast, so at least I can get around a bit more easily.

“When I think about it, it’s amazing how far my recovery has come in the last few months.

“I have absolutely no doubt that if I hadn’t been transferred to the Major Trauma Centre so quickly after the accident, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Nottingham Hospitals Charity is launching an appeal to raise £3 million to build a helipad at Queens Medical Centre (QMC) that would benefit Boston patients.

QMC became the East Midlands’ major trauma centre in 2012, but the team want to transfer more seriously injured people as quickly as possible to them.

There is no helipad on-site, which means the air ambulance lands nearby at the University. Patients are then transferred to an ambulance and brought to QMC’s emergency department, which can take up to 20 minutes. Having an on-site helipad will reduce this to less than five minutes.

Adam Brooks, director of the East Midlands Major Trauma Centre, said: “Our world-class, expert team in Nottingham has saved the lives of over one hundred patients who wouldn’t otherwise have survived.

“An on-site helipad will ensure our most seriously injured patients are transported to our emergency department even faster, giving them the very best chance of survival.”

The first 60 minutes following a severe injury is known as the ‘golden hour’ and is critical to favourable clinical outcomes.

Visit www.nottingham to find out more and donate.

Lincolnshire’s air ambulance, based at RAF Waddington, needs to raise £1.8 million a year to run.