A 14-year-old boy has met the team from the Air Ambulance Kent Sussex Surrey (AAKSS) who saved his life on a dark October night last year after he’d been hit by a car while riding his bike.
Joe Pelham from Farnham in Surrey, and his parents visited AAKSS base at Redhill and met the doctor, paramedics, and dispatcher, who were involved in the mission that treated him by the side of the road before transferring him to St George’s Hospital in London.
It was at around 8.30pm on 25 October last year when Joe, a pupil at Weydon School, was knocked off his bike at the junction of the A31 and the Coxbridge Roundabout in Farnham.
Treated first by paramedics from SECAMB, Amanda Sands, the AAKSS dispatchers redirected the Air Ambulance team who were returning to base from a mission in one of their rapid response vehicles on the M25.
Soon on the scene, Dr Richard Lyon and paramedics Sam Taylor and David Wright took over the treatment of Joe – who had multiple and critical injuries to his head, chest, stomach and legs.
The Air Ambulance team administered an anaesthetic, blood products in the form of plasma, and performed emergency chest surgery to treat a damaged and collapse lung by the side of the road. Joe was then blue-lighted via a road ambulance to St George’s Hospital.
After undergoing surgery to repair his liver, stomach, lungs and a fractured skull, Joe was placed in an induced coma for more than a week to give his body the chance to heal itself.
Over the next eight weeks Joe underwent further surgery, rehabilitation and physiotherapy, before being allowed home just before Christmas.
Joe’s mum, Sam Egbochue, said: “What the Air Ambulance team and paramedics did was absolutely amazing. Without them we wouldn’t have Joe with us today.
“Joe was in the wrong place at the wrong time and we are hugely grateful the Air Ambulance team were on the scene so quickly.
“They are very special people and true heroes. Saving his life wasn’t a miracle, but the result of their pioneering skills and treatments all delivered in the dark by the roadside that saved his life.”
“Although St George’s wasn’t the nearest A&E, Dr Lyon knew from Joe’s injuries that his only hope of survival was to get him there as quickly as possible.
“A massive thank you must also go to Joe’s friend who pulled him and his bike out of the busy road and to the safety of the verge.”
Recalling the mission, Dr Lyon said: “The phrase critical doesn’t cut it when describing Joe’s injuries which were extensive, and huge praise must go to the surgeons at St George’s and also to Joe’s family who I know stayed by his bedside every day before he went home.”
Joe is now back at his school, playing football and in a band.