I was really scared but as soon as the air ambulance crew arrived on the scene I had confidence in them and felt less worried.
Motorcyclist Andre Oliveira says “no words can express” the gratitude he has for the crew of Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA) who treated him when he was involved in a collision with a car at Barton Seagrave near Kettering.
The life-changing multiple injuries he suffered included two broken vertebrae in his neck, a shattered left knee cap, deep scalp lacerations that needed over 100 stitches, a broken nose and a stroke.
Andre had to learn to walk again after the accident, which happened in September 2018. He was off work for over a year and is currently unemployed because his injuries make it difficult for him to do the manual jobs he has previously done.
He was riding his motorcycle to the garage when a car suddenly pulled out in front of him and he had no time to stop.
“I crashed into the car’s wheel arch and my body hit the windscreen. My helmet came off as I was thrown across the road which is why I had so many injuries to my head and neck,” explains Andre.
An off duty doctor helped him at the scene before a land ambulance arrived. Soon after that Andre remembers seeing the helicopter in the sky above him.
“That’s when I realised how serious the situation was. I was really scared but as soon as the air ambulance crew arrived on the scene I had confidence in them and felt less worried. “
The WNAA crew gave Andre a Ketamine injection – a pain relieving drug that most land ambulance crews are not able to administer.
“I immediately felt more comfortable and relaxed. The crew put me at ease, we even had a laugh! They were so professional and acted so quickly to get me on a stretcher and ready for the flight to hospital,” he says.
It took just 13 minutes to fly Andre to University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire, the nearest major trauma centre.
He spent 14 days in hospital and was admitted again two months later for an operation on his left leg to remove shattered bones in his kneecap.
Andre is trying to rebuild his life and as part of his recovery it was arranged for him to visit the WNAA base at Coventry Airport.
He was reunited with Critical Care Paramedic Mark Beasley, one of the crew members who attended him.
“No words can express my gratitude for what you did for me that day. I don’t think I’d be here now without the air ambulance. I know I was in a critical situation. I don’t have words enough to thank you,” he said.
With tears in his eyes, Andre handed over a box of treats for the air ambulance crew as a thank you gift.
After meeting Mark he said: “It is so important to me to be able to say thank you and shake his hand. Meeting him has made my day. I feel so much better now I have shown my gratitude for what the crew did that day.”
“I can’t believe the air ambulance is a charity and receives no government funding. I hope my story will inspire people to make donations to keep the helicopters flying.”