A Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance patient, who survived a 25ft fall from a tree, is to be featured in Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E next week (November 13th).
The Royal Television Society Award-winning documentary series continues from its new home at St George’s Hospital in London – one of Britain’s most advanced and busiest A&E departments.
Filmed around the clock by 104 cameras, the series captures dramatic and emotional stories of love, life and loss on the frontline of the NHS.
Next week’s third episode of the new series tells the story of tree surgeon Paul who was working in Sunbury-on-Thames when his harness failed and he fell and hit his head on a concrete pole as he landed.
The air ambulance was called and it took the charity helicopter 19 minutes to get to Paul from its Redhill base.
Paul, 38, was assessed and treated at the scene by the helicopter’s doctor and paramedic before being taken by road to St George’s, accompanied by the air ambulance team.
24 Hours in A&E shows him arriving in the resuscitation room of the specialist Major Trauma Centre where doctors were immediately concerned that he may have injured his spine.
Orthopaedic doctor Mike said: “When somebody falls you worry about the head, then you worry about spinal injuries.
“When the patient comes in if they’re complaining of pins and needles my heart always sinks. It could be a sign that there is trauma to the spinal cord which can cause paralysis.”
A CT scan revealed that Paul had broken a vertebra in his back and medics were concerned fragments of bone could damage his spinal cord.
Paul’s wife Emma realised things were serious when she was told he had been taken to St George’s rather than their local hospital.
She said: “You think, ‘What if he doesn’t walk again?’. It’s horrible to see somebody that you look upon as big and strong and seeing them just going insane with the amount of pain they’re in. I just felt pretty helpless, but all I could do was hold his hand.”
* 24 Hours in A&E is on Channel 4 on Thursday (November 13th) at 9pm. If you would like to find out more about the Air Ambulance or make a donation, please visit www.kssairambulance.org.uk