Monday, 2 June 2014

Tree fall survivor re-united with life-saver

Photo L-R: Jerry Doyle, Dr Will Davies, Paramedic Ben Macauley, Pilot, Captain Roger Sheridan and First Officer Alasdair Auchincloss

A retired civil servant impaled on a fence after falling from a tree has been reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance doctor who helped save his life.

Father-of-three Jerry Doyle was cutting down branches with a chainsaw at the back of his garden in Cliffe Woods when he slipped and fell 15ft on to the spiked metal railings.

The 62-year-old was stabbed in his back, abdomen, arm and hand by the 8in spikes which amazingly missed his vital organs.

Jerry was flown to a specialist London hospital where he spent two weeks but has now made a full recovery and recently met Air Ambulance doctor Will Davies for the first time since his accident.

He said: “The consultant at the hospital said they wanted to know what my lottery numbers were because I was the luckiest person she had seen in 2013.

“Because of how deep the wounds were, she said that if one of them was another half an inch to the right I would not be here because it would have pierced my heart.”

Jerry, a former director of the Government car service, was clearing an area of land at the back of his garden in View Road when the accident happened last September.

A neighbour he was helping managed to lift him off the fence before paramedics from the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) arrived.

They assessed and treated Jerry at the scene before the Air Ambulance arrived due to the severity of his injuries.

The helicopter’s doctor and critical care paramedic Charles Leahy then carried out advanced medical procedures usually performed only in hospital.

Jerry said: “I had to rip my hand off the fence to get down which felt pretty nasty but I was conscious throughout. My neighbour was in more of a panic than me, I was reasonably calm.”

Air Ambulance Chief Pilot, Captain Nick Bramley and First Officer Dan Vickers flew Jerry to King’s College Hospital in London in just 13 minutes – a journey that could have taken almost an hour by road.

Scans at the major trauma centre revealed that he had also suffered six fractured ribs but he has now made a full recovery.

The accident happened just a week before the Tothill Fields Masonic Lodge held a charity dinner and dance at The Bromley Court Hotel in Bromley.

As the lodge’s Worshipful Master at the time, the lodge committee decided the funds should go to the Air Ambulance service which relies almost entirely on donations.

They raised a total of £500 from a raffle which Jerry presented to Dr Davies when he met him at the Redhill helicopter base.

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

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