Type of Incident: Choking
Date: 9th April 2012
When father of two, Mark Ross, chose to support the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance by running the Brighton marathon, he had no idea that just a week later the service would be called upon to help save the life of his two-year-old daughter, Freya.
Shoreham Fire Station Watch Commander, Mark, 40, was fulfilling a life-time ambition to run a marathon, and decided to raise funds for the charity. He said “I’ve seen their worth over the years and what they can do by getting that immediate critical care to the scene. I’ve seen the benefits of their early medical interventions in the past.”
Freya was at home with her mother Rachel, when she suddenly began choking on a toy dog that she had put in her mouth.
Paramedics from the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) were first on scene.
They found that Freya’s breathing was distressed and was uncomfortable for her and could possibly deteriorate further.
They initially tried to remove the toy with forceps, but then decided it was safer to leave it in situ and called in the Air Ambulance in what is known as a “Crew Request”.
The Air Ambulance Doctors, Richard Lyon and Emma Rowland, and Critical Care Paramedic Jon Sanders made an informed decision to undertake the procedure to remove the toy in hospital and used expert judgment to bypass the local emergency department and take her to a specialist centre. There was a huge risk that Freya’s condition could worsen en-route to hospital. Fortunately, in the care of the Air Ambulance crew, all the required skills and equipment were available to Freya immediately should the need have arisen.
The crew also spoke directly to the Royal Sussex County Hospital at Brighton, to ensure paediatric anaesthetists were waiting to treat Freya as soon as she arrived.
Freya has since made a full recovery. Mark and Rachel visited the Air Ambulance base where they thanked Emma, Richard and Jon for their part in saving their daughter’s life.
During their visit, Freya sat in the cockpit of the twin-engine MD 902 Explorer and was given an Air Ambulance Pilot teddy.
Mark said “In my occupation I’ve worked on scene alongside the Air Ambulance crew in their reds many times, mostly at road traffic collisions. It’s a whole new world when it’s your own family.”