Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Survivor reunited with lifesavers

Photo 1, L-R: Dr Steph Tilston, Michael Forsdyke, Paramedic Adam Ormrod and Dr Magnus Nelson

Photo 2, L-R, Adam, Amy Johnston, Steph, Michael and Magnus

A critically injured motorcyclist was reunited yesterday (Tuesday) with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance team who helped save his life.

Michael Forsdyke, 30, suffered a broken neck, back, collarbone, six broken ribs and a shattered pelvis after he was involved in a high-speed collision with a car on the A20 in Ashford.

Both air ambulance crews were called and he had to be given an emergency blood transfusion at the scene by the charity helicopter’s doctors and paramedics before being flown to the Royal London Hospital.

He was featured in BBC2 medical science documentary An Hour To Save Your Life as he successfully underwent a Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA) procedure at the Major Trauma Centre, to stop him from bleeding to death.

Michael is believed to have made medical history by becoming the first UK trauma patient to survive following the advanced medical procedure, and has since made a full recovery.

Yesterday, he met air ambulance doctors Magnus Nelson and Steph Tilston, and Paramedic Adam Ormrod at the helicopter base for the first time since his accident in July, 2013.

He said: “All things considered, I shouldn’t have survived but the fact that I did is certainly thanks to the air ambulance and the team at the Royal London.

“If they hadn’t got to me in such a timely fashion and stabilized me by giving me the units of blood I would be dead.

“It’s been great to meet them and say thank you. Although I don’t know them I’ve been told about what they did and myself, my family and friends owe them a great deal of gratitude.

“They’re lifesavers essentially and without them a lot of other people wouldn’t be alive either. I was in an induced coma for two weeks and intensive care for a month. I couldn’t understand why mine was such a unique case until I saw the documentary.”

Michael, an account manager from Maidstone, spent three months in hospital followed by three months of recovery at home before he finally returned to work almost a year later.

The accident happened on the day he celebrated the news that he was in remission from testicular cancer which had spread to his lungs.

He added: “I’d received a letter from my oncologist that day saying the tumours had shrunk and I was in remission after three months of chemotherapy.

“I wanted to let my sister know so I thought I would give her the news in person. It was a nice sunny afternoon so I popped on my leathers and hopped on the bike.

“Beyond that I can’t remember anything about the accident and my next memory was waking up on the ward about a month afterwards.

“The last two years have been crazy and a bit of a blur and I gave up at a couple of stages after the accident

“I don’t think I’d be alive if it wasn’t for my family, amazing friends and work colleagues who supported me through every single moment. I’ll never be able to repay them for what they have done for me.

“You just have to appreciate the things you have in life and make the most of them because with the best will in the world things happen that you don’t expect.”

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance started carrying blood in February, 2013, and has since carried out more than 200 transfusions.

The procedure is carried out seven times a month on average and most patients, about 160, are men aged between 20 and 29. The average number of units given is 2.3 but Michael received the maximum four.

Dr Nelson said: “It makes a massive difference having the ability to give blood transfusions. It buys time and in Michael’s case it bridged the gap and allowed us to get him to hospital alive.

“It’s amazing to see Michael looking so well and it’s obviously been a fairly long journey for him to get back to health.

“It’s great to have been a small part in his care at the time of his injury and unbelievable to meet someone who I really thought was going to die from his injuries.

“To see him living a normal life is a phenomenal testament not only to the work of the ambulance service, the air ambulance but the whole chain of organisations involved in his care.”

Dr Tilston added: “I’ve never seen anyone who looked so sick as he did, and looking so well now. He has made an amazing recovery.”

In September, on her 30th birthday, Michael’s friend Amy Johnston jumped out of an aeroplane in a sponsored skydive for the air ambulance which relies almost entirely on donations and this year celebrates its 25th anniversary.

The project manager, from Aylesford, presented a £145 cheque to the charity yesterday and is planning another jump with Michael next year.

She said: “The skydive was amazing and I chose the air ambulance because of the personal connection with Michael.

“I think it’s always important to do something for a charity which means so much to you, and a local one as well.”

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