On 6th November 2018, then 46-year-old Peter Kelly was driving in Cookstown in Country Tyrone when he was involved in a serious road traffic collision, resulting in critical injuries.
Peter was driving to his local shop to get sticks for the fire when he collided with a van in Lissan. The collision was so violent the engine and gear box were ripped from Peter’s car and the HEMS team was tasked to the scene via the charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (Air Ambulance NI) Helicopter. Peter suffered severe abdominal injuries to his spleen and bowel and multiple broken bones across his spine, pelvis, arms, legs and ribs meaning that the HEMS team of Dr. Campbell Brown and paramedic Phil Hay had to administer crucial medical treatment at the site of the accident. Despite the adverse weather conditions of heavy rain and poor light, they induced a coma at the scene to give Peter the best chance before bringing him to Royal Victoria Hospital.
Following the accident, Peter spent one month in Royal Victoria Hospital spending one week in Intensive Care, one week in the High Dependency Unit and a further two weeks on a general ward. He was then transferred to Musgrave Park Hospital for a further five months. Throughout his time in hospital, Peter had numerous operations and intensive physiotherapy to overcome his extensive injuries. While he still has no recollection of the accident, he is making great strides in his recovery and is glad to be back at home.
Speaking about the accident and Air Ambulance NI’s involvement, Peter’s daughter, Erin said, “You never expect something like this to happen to your family and until it does you don’t realise how critical the air ambulance service is. Until the accident I wasn’t aware that it is a charity and depends on public donations. We were told by doctors at the Royal Victoria Hospital that without the interventions made at scene by the HEMS team, my dad wouldn’t have survived. The fact that he is still here and is able to watch my daughter, his first grandchild, grow up is amazing and we’re so grateful to Air Ambulance NI.”
Erin works for BPR Contact Furniture in Dungannon which has chosen Air Ambulance NI as their Charity of the Year for 2020. Throughout the year they will be organising fundraising events to help raise money and awareness for the charity.
Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising for Air Ambulance NI said, “It was lovely to meet Peter and Erin at the air ambulance base and to reunite Peter with the medical team who treated him. The whole team is so happy Peter’s recovery is going well and that he is back at home with his family. As a charity, we depend on public donations to continue to provide this service for everyone in Northern Ireland. Accidents like Peter’s go to show how vital it is.”
Air Ambulance NI is the local charity that provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for Northern Ireland, together with partners at the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS). The service operates seven days a week for 12 hours per day and since its first mission in July 2017 the air ambulance has been tasked over 1,100 times across the region.
From its base near Lisburn, the air ambulance can reach any part of Northern Ireland in approximately twenty-five minutes. Its primary role is to deliver advanced pre-hospital critical care, benefitting those whose lives are at serious risk following significant injury or trauma.