Monday, 10 March 2014

Air Ambulance doctor receives MBE

Photo: Air Ambulance Medical Director Dr Russell pictured with his MBE at Windsor Castle

A Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance doctor today (Friday) received his MBE from Her Majesty the Queen, for services to emergency medicine.

Dr Malcolm Russell was formally invested as a Member of the Order of the British Empire at Windsor Castle after being named in the New Year’s Honours List.

The father-of-two was presented with his award by Her Majesty the Queen at the castle’s Waterloo Chamber, watched by his proud wife and children.

He said: “It has been an amazing day and I felt honoured to have my MBE presented by Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle.

“I felt humbled to be amongst some incredible people and very thoughtful of the work our charity does and the many people we strive to help.”

Dr Russell joined the Air Ambulance as Clinical Lead in 2007, when the Surrey and Sussex helicopter was first launched.

Last year, he was appointed as the life-saving charity’s Medical Director responsible for assuring the quality of care provided by its doctors and paramedics.

Dr Russell served in the British Army for 15 years and has been involved in pre-hospital emergency medicine since 1996.

In 2011, he was part of a 50-strong UK International Search and Rescue Team who helped victims of the New Zealand earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

* If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833 or go to

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Survivor reunited with life-savers

Photo 1: L-R Tony Gillam and Air Ambulance paramedic Lewis Price

Photo 2: L-R, Lewis, Tony and Air Ambulance doctor Neel Bhanderi

A motorcyclist critically injured in a road crash has been reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance paramedic who helped save his life.

Company director Tony Gillam, 66, was on a BikeSafe course when he lost control on a bend at Coopers Corner in Sevenoaks.

The father-of-three suffered a traumatic brain injury and had to be given emergency treatment at the road-side by the charity helicopter’s doctor and paramedic.

Tony, from Oxted, was airlifted to a specialist neurological centre in London and spent a total of nine weeks in hospital but has since made a good recovery.

He said: “On the day of the accident I was having tuition on a BikeSafe course to brush up on my skills. I was followed by the observer in the morning and he picked up a couple of minor flaws in my riding ability.

“In the afternoon I was following behind him and another rider and we were warned about the road. The observer did tell us to be aware of manhole covers and drains in the middle of the road.

“I can’t remember anything of the accident but my son was following behind me on his bike and he said I went round the corner, touched the front brake and the bike just stood up and took me off into a bank.”

Paramedics from the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) were first on scene and called in the Air Ambulance due to the severity of Tony’s injuries.

He was so agitated that Dr Alistair Rennie and Paramedic Lewis Price had to sedate him. They also gave him an emergency anaesthetic to protect his airway and prevent further brain injury – an advanced medical procedure usually performed only in hospital.

Pilot Kevin Goddard flew Tony to King’s College Hospital major trauma centre in London where scans confirmed a fractured skull, fractured neck and bleeding in his brain.

He was intensive care for nine days before being moved to a high dependency ward and was later transferred to his local East Surrey Hospital before finally being allowed home.

Tony is now back at work at the company he runs called Abbey Motorsport which specialises in high-performance vehicles. He recently visited the helicopter base at Marden to meet paramedic Lewis for the first time since his accident in August.

He added: “I’ve been in business for 50 years and no decisions are taken lightly but the decisions they have to make day in day out in the treatment they have to give patients, is amazing.

“Before the accident I decided to get back into car racing and lost about 10 stone so I was a lot fitter which my consultant said probably helped save my life.”

Tony has been riding motorbikes for 50 years and is planning to get back on his 1200cc Suzuki Bandit again despite his accident.

And his son Mark has vowed to run the Canary Wharf Triathlon to raise funds for the Air Ambulance which relies almost entirely on donations.

Lewis said: “It was great to see Tony as he is now, up and mobile and enjoying things that he did almost to the point that he did before the accident. Seven months on, he has done remarkably well and his recovery is amazing.”

* If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833 or go to

Monday, 3 March 2014

Air Ambulance in new TV documentary

Photo 1: Royal London Hospital medics assess Michael’s injuries with Air Ambulance paramedic Ben Macauley pictured in red.

Photo 2: Royal London A&E consultant and former Air Ambulance doctor Samy Sadek operates on Michael.

A motorcyclist airlifted to hospital by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is to be featured in a new TV medical science documentary next week (March 11th).

BBC2’s An Hour To Save Your Life explores in forensic detail the dilemmas and innovations at the frontline of emergency medicine.

Following specialist clinicians as they respond to the most critical cases, the three-part series offers a unique insight into the minute-by-minute decisions that are made in the fight for life.

From the moment an emergency call is made, the expert medical attention a patient receives in the first hour is critical and can mean the difference between life or death.

An Hour To Save Your Life was filmed at the Royal London Hospital and Tuesday’s episode features an Air Ambulance patient called Michael who was critically injured in a high-speed road accident.

Boundless Productions Managing Director Patrick Holland said: “An Hour To Save Your Life highlights the very fragile line between life and death.

“For the very first time, viewers will see the chain of care put in place by the elite response units, showing in crystal clear detail how the action taken during the first 60 minutes of serious injury can alter the outcome of a patient’s life so dramatically.

“Our team is privileged to have witnessed first-hand the pioneering work administered to patients with life-threatening injuries every single day.” 

* An Hour To Save Your Life is on Tuesday (March 11th), on BBC2, at 9pm.