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Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance saved Grantham cyclist who suffered a brain injury and a boy, 3, who was hit by a car near Market Rasen

A cyclist who suffered a traumatic brain injury hailed the air ambulance service for saving his life – as the service braces itself for its busiest year on record.

With less one more month to go before the end of the year, the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance (LNAA) crew are close to matching the total number of missions in 2022.

As of December 1, LNAA had responded to 1,617 emergencies in 2023. Last year, the total number of missions was 1,620.

Mark Jones.
Mark Jones.

Grantham cyclist Mark Jones is one of the patients who knows first-hand the difference made by the highly skilled doctors, paramedics and pilots who operate the service.

Mark suffered a traumatic brain injury and was left fighting for his life after being hit by a car. If it wasn’t for the crew of LNAA, Mark believes he would not have survived.

It took less than 15 minutes to fly Mark to Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC). His other injuries included punctured lungs, numerous broken bones and multiple rib fractures. His right leg was so severely damaged that surgeons had to shorten it by 1.5cm and put his leg into a metal frame, so the bones could regrow and reconnect effectively.

Mark was in a coma for five weeks and his chance of survival was low. He received extensive medical care, and eventually transferred to a rehabilitation unit to help prepare him for when he could eventually go home and live an independent life.

Mark said: “It was there that I realised how badly injured I was. Everyday things were suddenly too hard for my brain to work out. It was surreal. I knew my name but couldn’t write it. I had to learn to get dressed, clean my teeth and do all those simple tasks including household chores and creating recipes with just two items in them as I could never get a third – it was all too much for my brain.”

Eight years on from the incident and Mark is still recovering.

“Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance saved my life that day,” said Mark. “It makes me sad to realise how much I have changed, and it must hurt my wife, Karen immensely to know the person I was has gone, but I am alive and well and we will do our best to look to make a future that we want.”

Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance
Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance

The money raised could also go towards helping children like three-year-old George, from the Market Rasen area, who was hit by a car.

The LNAA was dispatched to where George lay unconscious, landing close to the scene so the crew were able to be by the toddler’s side.

As George began to wake up, Dr Alan Horan and Senior Paramedic Erica Ley could see he was showing signs of distress and administered advanced pain relief.

As George was so young, he needed to be taken to hospital as quickly as possible. Distraught mum Laura travelled on board the helicopter to Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre and could only watch as the crew continued to monitor George and keep him comfortable.

They arrived at hospital in minutes and George was transferred quickly to the paediatric team so they could continue his care.

Mum Laura said: “The compassion and kindness they showed as they kept my son settled on that flight to hospital will stay with me forever.”

Fortunately, George made a full recovery.

Michelle Hill, interim giving manager at LNAA, said: “It’s patients like George who need the care only our crew can provide – and quickly. He was potentially one of four patients that day, our daily mission average, to which the crew take the equivalent of an emergency department.

“Whether at the beachside, on the roadside or in the countryside, crews respond to emergencies of the most serious kind, providing medical interventions that can mean the difference between life and death.

“Patients like George get the best care possible only because of the support we receive from people across Lincs & Notts and beyond.”

The rising number of missions led to the creation of The Big Give Christmas Challenge – a one-week campaign that managed to surpass its fundraising target of £70,000 this week.

The charity says it needs to raise £10million this year to operate 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week and give patients the best chance of survival.

Have you ever used the services of the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance? Share your experiences in the comments below...

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