Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Survivor thanks paramedic for saving her life

A teenager who survived a near-fatal road traffic collision has thanked the Sussex Air Ambulance paramedic who helped save her life.

Natasha Griffiths, 19, was reunited with Clinical Manager Gary Wareham at the charity helicopter base on Saturday (January 28th) – the second anniversary of the crash.

She and baby brother Joey were passengers in a car being driven by their mother Kirsty when a deer suddenly ran out in front of them on Marley Road in Battle.

Kirsty swerved to avoid the animal but lost control and collided with a tree. Natasha, from Salehurst, was trapped in the vehicle for an hour and had to be cut free by firefighters.

She bore the brunt of the impact and suffered internal bleeding, a smashed pelvis, 11 broken ribs and a broken wrist, arm, leg, ankle and finger.

The teenager was anaesthetized at the scene – a skill usually performed in hospital – before being flown to the major trauma centre at the Royal London Hospital where she was in a coma for five weeks.

Natasha was eventually allowed home after three months and has since made a good recovery.

She said: “It’s been amazing to meet Gary and I thought I was going to cry but I kept it all together. I don’t remember anything about the crash and I couldn’t believe what had happened and the injuries I suffered.

“The doctors at hospital didn’t think I was going to survive the night then when I did, they didn’t think I was going to survive the week.

“I saw photographs of the crash for the first time last Friday and in the pictures they are still cutting me out of the car and you can see the state of it and the tree we hit.

“The last two years have been upsetting but amazing because on the one hand I realized I couldn’t do all the things I did before but on the other hand I can also do a lot more than I expected as well.”

Natasha had been planning join the Army but the crash happened a week before she was due to undergo her fitness tests.

She is now studying health and social care at college and wants to use her experience to become a trauma counselor and physiotherapist.

Last summer Natasha, her mother and grandmother jumped out of a plane in a sponsored skydive at Headcorn Airfield to help raise a total of £4,000 for Sussex Air Ambulance.

Clinical Manager Gary Wareham said: “Natasha was one of the sickest type of patients we deal with.

“Her experience is quite a familiar one whereby patients who have had an awful experience  then want to give something back.

“They undertake all sorts of fundraising events to raise money which we can then put back into the service and help others.”

If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833. Alternatively cheques can be made payable to Sussex Air Ambulance and posted to Wheelbarrow Park Estate, Pattenden Lane, Marden, Kent, TN12 9QJ

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