Monday, 11 January 2016

Airlifted golfer featured on 24 Hours in A&E

Photo: Air ambulance paramedic Alan Cowley, John and Alison Willoughby, and Chief Pilot, Captain Blaine Ashurst at the helicopter base

A golfer who was airlifted to hospital after being knocked unconscious in a freak accident is to be featured on Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E next week.

Retired firefighter John Willoughby, 53, was accidentally struck in the face by a golf club at Deangate Ridge in Hoo.

The club hit him so hard that it snapped and he had to be given emergency treatment at the scene by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s doctor and paramedic.

He was put in an induced coma to prevent his brain from further injury before being flown by the charity helicopter to St George’s Hospital in London following the incident in June.

24 Hours in A&E shows the father-of-two arriving at the specialist neurological unit where he was sent straight for a CT scan.

Orthopaedic doctor Arash said: “Whenever someone comes by helicopter you already know it’s time critical.

“Every second counts, you don’t get a second chance. Time is brain, those tissues are very sensitive.”

Doctors assessed the seriousness of John’s head injuries and were concerned that his right eye was not reacting as it should have been.

They decided to wake him from his coma but realised he was losing function down the right side of his body, which could indicate further problems.

John’s wife Alison said: “He was in the fire brigade for 32 years. He loved the adrenaline, the excitement of what was going to happen next.

“So much has happened to him, he went to the bombings in London, he saw such horrific things. To him it’s part of his job. He would put his life on the line to save someone. And then he goes off to play golf and ends up…”

24 Hours in A&E is on Wednesday, January 20th, at 9pm and follows patients treated in a 24-hour period.

Filmed around the clock by 104 cameras at one of the world’s most advanced and busiest A&E departments, the series captures stories of life, love and loss unfolding every day.

·         Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is one of the official Charity Partners for this year’s Brighton Marathon and 10k. Anyone interested in running to raise funds for the charity is urged to call 01622 833833.

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