A biker who survived a 60mph road crash has been reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance paramedic who helped save his life.
Father-of-two Nigel Quick, 54, from Tenterden, was returning home when he was in collision with a car on the A265 at Broad Oak near Heathfield.
He suffered a traumatic head injury and had to be given emergency treatment at the road-side by the helicopter’s doctor and paramedics before being flown to a specialist London hospital.
Nigel has since made an almost full recovery and recently met Paramedic Karen Clarke for the first time since his accident in April.
He said: “I don’t remember a lot about that day except heading over to a biker’s café at Horam but I changed my mind and was coming back home.
“I was coming out of a 30mph limit into a national speed limit and there were a few cars in front of me and I started to overtake them.
“One of the cars was turning right but I didn’t see his indicator and as I went past he started his manoeuvre and I went down the side of his car and over his bonnet. I flew through the air and landed in his drive.”
Nigel also suffered burst and fractured vertebrae, a Grade 1 spleen injury and three broken ribs.
He had to be anaesthetised and placed in an induced coma by Karen and her colleagues Dr Matt Davenport and Paramedic Charles Leahy, to protect his brain from further injury.
Pilots Roger Sheridan and Nick Bramley flew Nigel to King’s College Hospital in London where scans confirmed he had a potentially fatal bleed in his brain.
The transfer time to the specialist neurological centre was 36 minutes – a journey that could have taken an hour-and-a-half by road.
Nigel spent a month at King’s before he was transferred to his local Kent and Canterbury hospital and was finally allowed home 10 days later.
He is still undergoing physiotherapy but is now back at work as a self-employed fruit importer and is planning to ride again.
He added: “I know how very lucky I am to still be walking and talking because I could have been a real burden on my family with the injuries I had. I do think that a lot now.
“Physically I’m a bit sore and weaker and I’ve lost three stone, something which I needed to do, and this has made me realise how important family is.
“I’m now very aware of the trauma I have put people through, especially my wife. I nearly cried when I met Karen because it’s very emotional meeting someone who has saved your life.”
Nigel briefly met Karen during a visit to the helicopter base at Marden before she was called out to a road accident in Folkestone.
Karen said: “It was fantastic to see that Nigel has made a full recovery from what could have been a life-changing injury. I’m really pleased to have played a small part in his recovery and wish him all the best for the future.”
Nigel’s family and friends have since helped raise more than £600 for the charity helicopter from a parachute jump and 70th birthday party.
Police closed the road and appealed for witnesses following the collision near Baileys Farm but later took no further action.
If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833 or go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk