Episode 11 Helicopter Heroes


Episode 11

Series about the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. A man severs his hand in an accident with a saw, but the team are determined to save it. Helimed 99 brings a motorway to a halt.


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Transcript


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If you're critically ill or injured in a place like this

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there's only one thing that can save you, and that's speed.

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Wherever you are, this helicopter with a team of pilots and paramedics

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will fly to your rescue at two and a half miles a minute.

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These are Yorkshire's helicopter heroes.

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'When people in Britain's biggest county dial 999,

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'there's a good chance help will come from the skies.

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'The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is ready to scramble 365 days a year,

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'and each brings a new life-or-death emergency.

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'Today, a man severs his hand in an accident,

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'but the Helimed team are determined to save it.'

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Hopefully, they can stitch it back on.

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'A race against the sun as an injured rider is flown to hospital.'

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Ten to 15 minutes, maximum.

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'The chopper rescues an ambulance bogged down on a rugby pitch.'

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We're going to push the ambulance off the field!

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'There's a touchdown on the motorway after a pile-up

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'brings gridlock to the M6.'

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Almost everything in the emergency services is tied to the clock.

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People need help in minutes.

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That's why we have blue lights, sirens and 150mph helicopters.

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But sometimes, time is especially critical.

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'Emergencies don't come more acute than this one.'

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I'm going to ring you back.

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'A carpenter has dialled 999,

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'claiming to have sawn off his hand.'

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They're getting suited and booted at the moment.

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'Helimed 99 is heading north at top speed.

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'When a limb is amputated cleanly,

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'there's a good chance microsurgery can stitch it back on.

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'But it has to be done quickly.'

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-Is it a work or home address?

-Home address.

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'With the patient at his home 25 miles from the nearest hospital,

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'the helicopter ride is the only chance of saving his hand.'

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It's where it's been cut off, how cleanly it's been cut off.

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We don't want to take him somewhere they can't do the surgery.

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We'll make that decision when we get on scene.

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'The paramedics Paul and Pete know the odds are stacked against him.'

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-Try Harrogate.

-See what the injuries are first.

-Apparently, it's clean off!

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'Accidents with power tools are common and potentially lethal.

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'The clock is against them.

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'Helimed 99's landing site is tight but this case is urgent.'

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Yeah, you're fine there, Steve.

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'There's a familiar face to meet them.

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'Dave Gardner works for the Helimed team, but was first on the scene as a ground medic.'

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He's not sure what's fully happened. It's off there completely.

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That's in there. He thinks he's just injured his hand.

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'Malcolm Pipes is a professional carpenter

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'and has been making furniture for over 40 years.

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'He's in deep shock, and so is the neighbour who first found him.'

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He's a cabinet maker. Came running across saying he cut his hand.

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Cut it right off!

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'Malcolm was using this saw in his workshop when the accident happened.

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'The results were devastating.'

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-Malcolm, how do you feel?

-All right.

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We're just going to stick a little needle into your arm.

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-Are you in any pain?

-I've got pins and needles.

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In your...? In this arm, yeah?

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'Malcolm's left hand is in cold storage.'

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We've got frozen peas round it.

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Hopefully, that'll preserve the hand.

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He's going to LGI. Hopefully, they can stitch it on.

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'Malcolm's wife and daughter did the right thing when it happened.

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'They sat him down and dressed his wrist.

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'They could have saved his life.'

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What we're going to do, Malcolm, is take you to Leeds General Infirmary.

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-That's a long way.

-Not for us. It only takes ten minutes.

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The reason we're taking you there is, what you've done,

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they're the best place to try and sort it out for you.

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'Malcolm's so shocked, he can't feel anything. That may not last.

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'He's given morphine to tide him over

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'until hospital doctors anaesthetise him for surgery.'

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We're going to put a sling on your arm.

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-Can you put your hand up there? Is that all right?

-Yeah.

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Slide that underneath.

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'Malcolm could have bled to death, but he's safe now.'

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Can you ease forward a touch? That's it.

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Give me your hand so I can help you up.

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-There you go, Malcolm.

-Take a seat, sir.

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'25 miles away in Leeds,

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'surgeons are preparing to graft Malcolm's hand back on.'

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Keep your arms in. We're going to wrap you in a blanket.

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'It's going to be a complicated procedure,

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'and one that surgeons in Leeds have never attempted before.

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'Coming up, the race to get Malcolm and his hand to surgery begins.'

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It needs to be back on as quick as possible.

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'Paramedic Lee gets his partner out of a sticky situation.'

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I'm going to be at home on me own, Valentine's night.

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He taught me how to drive.

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'And a man is knocked down on the trans-Pennine motorway.'

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If you fly one of these, you have a thorough medical every six months.

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Fail, and you're grounded. But rules don't stop with your health.

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There are strict regulations as to when pilots must stop work, which can be a problem.

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'It's a sunny Saturday afternoon.

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'Helimed 98 is leaving the urban sprawl of Leeds

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'and heading for the west Yorkshire countryside.'

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We've been tasked to a male who's been thrown off a horse.

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He's complaining of pain to one of his thighs.

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He may have broken his femur.

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'The sun is already low in the sky. This is the last job of the day.'

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He's down a dirt track away from the equestrian centre we're tasked to.

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It's a matter of finding him before we start to treat him.

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There's the mast, which is some sort of water carrier.

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'As they fly over, it's all eyes out for the injured rider.'

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-Did they describe it as in a ditch?

-No. On a track.

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That white thing down there. Is that a horse?

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Helimed 98 to Leeds air desk, we've now found the scene.

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Hold his head for me. This is Phillip. He's fallen...

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'Six foot four Phil Thomason came off his 16-hand horse.

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'That's a long drop.'

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Phillip, we're going to give you something for that pain, OK...?

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'The biggest bone in his body is broken and he's miles from anywhere.

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'He was out riding with Shelley Catch.'

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There was a twig and the horse jumped sideways.

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He sort came off to the side but the horse is so big.

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Then he's gone up in the air and he's come down on his side,

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hip first, then his shoulder and onto his front.

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'The traction splint looks menacing but it's the best tool for the job.'

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It makes it feel much more comfortable

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and stops swelling within the thigh

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because it's in a nice straight line

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and stops the bones from overlapping one another.

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'Pilot Tim has other things on his mind.

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'The light he needs to fly is disappearing fast.'

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We've got an hour to play with.

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It's going to be five, ten minutes to Pinderfields.

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A ten-minute flight to Sheffield. That's 20 minutes of our hour gone.

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'The paramedics need to get moving.'

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We're going to have to put a traction splint onto your right leg.

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'Phil gets measured up.'

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MOANS

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It's not coming off.

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'First, he must say goodbye to his made-to-measure £200 riding boots.'

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MOANS

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They're brand new.

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You're just going to feel it coming off your heel.

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'He's already in agony,

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'and then Pat tightens the splint to realign the broken bones.

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'Tim is worried about the time.

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'The rules about flying helicopters at night are strict.'

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Yeah, it's taken us right up to our last light limit today.

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How's the pain, Phil?

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'Time for some more pilot maths.'

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Ten to 15 minutes maximum to load and hand over.

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It's going to have to be Pinderfields.

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'Phil has to be taken to his nearest hospital, Pinderfields in Wakefield,

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'in the opposite direction to Sheffield,

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'where the helicopter needs to end up.'

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Helimed 98, can we confirm that there is a land crew at Wakefield?

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Due to lack of daylight hours,

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it's imperative, otherwise we'll take the patient to Sheffield.

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'With the light failing fast, the crew have difficult decisions to make.

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'Coming up, the crew fear a night in A&E, as an ambulance goes missing.'

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We've reached 1635 and there's no sign of a land crew.

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'A man who severed his hand reaches hospital. Can surgeons save it?

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'And Helimed 99 prepares for take-off from the M62.'

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When you're a paramedic, it's not all hard work.

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Occasionally, love blossoms among the stretchers and sirens.

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Husband and wife teams aren't unusual,

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and sometimes partners bump into each other in unexpected places.

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'It's Valentine's Day and love is in the air over north Yorkshire.

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'So is Helimed 99.

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'Its crew, Lee Davison and Tony Wilkes, have been on four emergency jobs today.

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'They think they're about to go home to their loved ones.

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'The air desk dispatcher is about to play gooseberry.'

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-ON RADIO:

-'The land crew might have got their vehicle stuck. Over.'

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Roger.

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'The ambulance is stuck in the middle of a rugby field, miles from the road.

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'Inside, 18-year-old rugby player Patrick Frith with a broken leg

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'and some very unsympathetic teammates.'

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I'm not touching that! Who's got the verruca then?

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< His boot stuck in the mud. His body went one way.

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Leg went the other way. That was it. Big crack, big time.

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'The crew's flying in to help their colleagues.

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'Lee Davison hasn't realised that the ambulance is being driven by his partner Paula.

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'Looking at him, you wouldn't think he was the romantic sort,

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'but Lee has been planning a Valentine's dinner for Paula.

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'Thanks to this, his plans have all gone wrong.'

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My girlfriend on Valentine's Day, who I'll have to cook for.

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She's in a field and I'll be at home eating my Valentine's tea on me own.

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-What time will you be home for tea, Paula?

-Maybe never!

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But it'd better be ready when I get in!

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'Paula and her colleague Chris in the ambulance

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'did the work on Patrick before Helimed 99 arrived.

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'His leg is splinted. He's got pain relief.

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'It's time for his teammates to help him to hospital.'

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First it was his knee dislocated. I couldn't touch it.

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It was hurting so much.

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< Looks like he's fractured his femur, the long bone in his leg.

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< It's quite painful

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with potential for quite a bit of blood loss into surrounding tissue.

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We'll give him oxygen then get him to hospital.

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'There's just enough time

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'for Lee and Paula to sort out their love life.'

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This is her who got it stuck. Eh?

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I'm going to be having me tea on me own, Valentine's night.

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-He taught me how to drive.

-LAUGHTER

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'As the helicopter lifts, the scrum put their not inconsiderable weight to use...'

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Going to push the ambulance off the field! Scrum practice!

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'..freeing Paula's ambulance from its mud trap.

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'Just a few weeks later,

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'the Harrogate Pythons are back in the thick of the action.

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'A cold Wednesday evening workout keeps them on their toes.

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'Well, nearly all of them. Patrick's season has come to an end.

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'His leg was put back together with Meccano-like plates and rods.

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'He'll have to get used to watching his teammates for a few months.'

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I remember getting the ball,

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did a sidestep and heard a massive crunch.

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It's the first injury I've had

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where I've had to be taken off.

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It was just a freak accident. Well, I hope it was!

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'Patrick's best mate has an unusual nickname.'

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Fortress. That's me.

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I'm a prop. I do all the heavy work.

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'He knew what happened straightaway.'

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He was running and I heard a pop, like feet banging together.

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Next we know, he's on the floor in pain.

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-Manly, though.

-Manly pain. Sorry, manly pain.

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'Paula was the first to Patrick's aid,

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'but she was having a day to forget.'

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They first went to the wrong rugby club.

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When they tried to get on the pitch, they had to get pushed by some of the players onto the field.

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I was pleased when they finally arrived,

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'but it was quite worrying when they couldn't get onto the pitch.

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'40 minutes I was on the ground, and you do begin to panic.

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'As soon as they turn up, you feel pretty safe.'

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They came to see me in hospital, and that's really nice.

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They definitely care, you know what I mean? It's more than a job.

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'Coming up, there's a late finish for pilot Tim

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'and a fatal accident on the M6.

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'The team's called to save the driver who caused it.'

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Let's catch up on the case of the craftsman who cut off his hand

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in a terrible accident with an electric saw.

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'Helimed 99 are in a sleepy village in North Yorkshire,

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'where a carpenter's latest project has gone badly wrong.'

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It's off completely from there. He thinks he just injured his hand.

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'Malcolm Pipe's sawn his hand off with a bench saw.

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'It's a life-threatening injury, but thanks to his family, he will survive.

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'It's up to paramedics Pete Vallance and Paul Bradbury

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'to get him to the plastic surgeons at the Leeds General Infirmary

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'to sew the severed limb back on.'

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Malcolm, we're going to lift you. One, two, three.

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There we go. Easy as that.

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And down again.

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'Malcolm doesn't understand the gravity of what's happened.

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'His way of coping with the ordeal is to keep talking.

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'Lucky paramedics Pete and Paul

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'enjoy a bit of friendly banter.'

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You're quicker than he were...!

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'Malcolm's discovered he's got a lot in common with Leeds Utd fan Pete.'

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MUFFLED CHATTING

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'Malcolm's hand has been kept cool with frozen peas and carrots.'

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It needs to be back on as quick as possible,

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if it's saveable - hopefully, it will be.

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-MALCOLM: Do you want me to drive?

-You could!

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'With their unusually jovial patient safely secured in the back,

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'pilot Steve wastes no time setting off to the Leeds General Infirmary.'

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Helimed 99 Alpha.

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Coming from Thursk, en route to the LGI shortly.

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We'll supply information as we get to the LGI.

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'It's not the closest hospital, but with a team of top plastic surgeons,

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'it gives Malcolm the best chance of having his hand reattached.'

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'He was talking to Paul in the back, knew what was going on around him.

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'With the exception of his injury,

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'which might be his way of coping -

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'to be talkative and take his mind off it.'

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That's something we normally do.

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Malcolm didn't need any help with that at all today.

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I'll tell you before he comes in he's unaware that his hand is off.

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-He thinks he's damaged his fingers.

-All right.

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'Resus is the first stop for any patient brought in by the team.

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'While doctors assess Malcolm's condition in one cubicle,

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'next door, the plastic surgeons get a glimpse of his severed hand.'

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We had a look at the hand straight out of the packaging.

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He took it off from that angle.

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It is quite a clean cut.

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The doctors are optimistic they will be able to reattach it.

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Just looking at the body part to see if it's feasible to reattach it.

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It's looking quite promising.

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'This is a highly unusual case.

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'None of these doctors have seen anything like this before.

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'It's not just the injuries concerning them.

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'Malcolm still doesn't realise his whole hand has been amputated.

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'The team must find a way to tell him

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'without causing too much distress.'

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They're doing an X-ray to see what bone injuries he's got,

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if it's feasible to reattach the hand.

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'Malcolm's a well-known furniture maker.

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'His life revolves around using his hands.

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'If surgery's not successful, he may have to live with only one hand.'

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'Malcolm looks to be the sort of guy who likes to be doing things.'

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As we were going out,

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he was organising the guys doing his extension, so they got on with the work.

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'So he's got, perhaps, the right sort of personality

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'and determination to recover from something like this.'

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'Coming up, the surgeon who thinks he can give Malcolm his hand back.'

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It's not a procedure that a lot of plastic surgeons will have done.

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'And a man's hit by a lorry on the hard shoulder - and lives.'

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It's a fact that riding a horse is one of the best ways of getting a flight in an air ambulance.

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Falls are common and injuries often serious.

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GROANS

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'Late in the day, Phil Thomason has come off his horse

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'and has a badly broken leg.'

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Well done!

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'He's now flying in circles 1,000 feet over the hospital,

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'where doctors are waiting to treat him - but there's a problem.'

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If we land, wait five minutes and an ambulance doesn't come,

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we have to go to Sheffield.

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'There's no sign of the ambulance to take Phil from the helipad at Pinderfields hospital into A&E.'

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-We'll stay airborne until that five minutes is up.

-All right.

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'By law, Tim and his helicopter must be on the ground in half an hour.

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'The sun has already set.'

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There's no sign of any vehicle.

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Every orbit we do, there's more street lights coming on.

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'Before they give up, Sammy makes a final call to find out what's happened.'

0:22:070:22:13

We've reached 1635. There is no sign of a land crew.

0:22:130:22:19

We're going to have to go to Northern General with this patient.

0:22:190:22:23

-ON RADIO: 'The ambulance is one minute away.'

-Is that it?

0:22:230:22:28

'They'll only be a minute. Over.'

0:22:280:22:31

Vehicle pulling into the ground now.

0:22:310:22:33

'In the nick of time, the ambulance arrives.

0:22:330:22:36

'Tim has built in a five-minute safety window,

0:22:360:22:40

'but it's looking like he'll have to leave without Pat.

0:22:400:22:45

'He needs to speak to the hospital medical team.'

0:22:450:22:49

It's a 20-minute transit time to Sheffield.

0:22:490:22:52

We've got five minutes to hand the patient over

0:22:520:22:55

or Pat will have to travel in with the patient.

0:22:550:22:59

'Phil is in the right place. Pat isn't.

0:22:590:23:02

'Helimed 98 has to leave him behind with no transport.

0:23:020:23:06

'The "sympathetic" helicopter air desk are on the case.'

0:23:060:23:11

'I'm trying to arrange a lift for Pat.

0:23:110:23:14

'I'll give him directions to the train station.'

0:23:140:23:19

That looks nice lit up at night.

0:23:190:23:22

'As daylight disappears, the crew has one more trick up their sleeve.'

0:23:250:23:31

Could you contact South Yorkshire Police and request the frequency

0:23:310:23:35

for the lights to be illuminated at Sheffield airport?

0:23:350:23:40

Whoever designed that is really clever.

0:23:400:23:44

'With the runway in sight,

0:23:450:23:47

'Tim activates the lights.'

0:23:470:23:49

-Oh, we got the patient to hospital.

-Yeah.

0:23:530:23:58

'It's been a long day.

0:23:580:24:00

'A couple of weeks later,

0:24:060:24:09

'Phil and his instructor Shelley are back with the horses.

0:24:090:24:13

'Phil's not going riding any time soon.

0:24:130:24:17

'His leg is held together by bits of metal.'

0:24:170:24:20

As soon as you hear the sirens,

0:24:200:24:23

it's such a relief to know that help's on its way.

0:24:230:24:27

Then, when the helicopter arrived,

0:24:270:24:30

the paramedics, seven or eight of them,

0:24:300:24:34

and the time spent getting me comfortable.

0:24:340:24:37

It was fantastic, the care that you receive.

0:24:370:24:41

'Phil's tutor Shelley

0:24:410:24:43

'is not only an experienced rider, she's an Air Ambulance veteran.

0:24:430:24:47

'She was picked up by the Helimed crew after a fall last year.'

0:24:470:24:52

-You've no pain in your neck or back? Just your face?

-And my ribs.

0:24:520:24:57

'I managed to go down head-first.

0:24:570:25:00

I did my jaw there and my nose but I managed to get out the same night.

0:25:000:25:06

Same night? LAUGHS

0:25:060:25:09

-Unlike Phillip.

-Yeah. 12 days I was in Pinderfields for.

0:25:090:25:14

'Shelley's Air Ambulance experience helped her look after Phil.'

0:25:140:25:20

'She said, "I think you've broken your leg." She was so cool.

0:25:200:25:25

'Just phoned the ambulance.'

0:25:250:25:28

In ten minutes, there was a response car.

0:25:280:25:31

'Not only that, she knew the crew.'

0:25:310:25:34

They said, "I know you." I said, "You air-lifted me from Byron Park."

0:25:340:25:39

The other guy walked over and went, "Hello, Shelley!"

0:25:390:25:43

I was like, "First name, not good!"

0:25:430:25:46

'Coming up, a man is reunited with a hand he lost in an accident.'

0:25:500:25:55

When you join the police, you're taught to respect motorways.

0:26:010:26:06

The Helimed team are often the first to witness

0:26:060:26:09

how dangerous our motorways can be.

0:26:090:26:12

'The Helimed team know a 999 call from one of Yorkshire's motorways

0:26:120:26:17

'is often serious.

0:26:170:26:19

'On the M180,

0:26:190:26:21

'a pile-up involving lorries, vans and cars has multiple casualties.'

0:26:210:26:26

Helimed 99, would you receive four casualties, one fatal?

0:26:260:26:31

ETA's about six minutes. Over.

0:26:310:26:33

There is one report of a patient in cardiac arrest.

0:26:330:26:38

We're just waiting for an update from the crews.

0:26:380:26:42

They'll give us an update of what's going on.

0:26:420:26:46

'The driver of a van has been killed

0:26:460:26:49

'and emergency services are struggling to free injured motorists

0:26:490:26:53

'from their vehicles.'

0:26:530:26:55

Sounds quite bad. For fatalities on RTAs, it's quite high impact,

0:26:550:27:01

the way cars are built to withstand this sort of impact.

0:27:010:27:05

It looks like they've closed the carriageway.

0:27:050:27:08

We need confirmation before we can land.

0:27:080:27:11

'Tim likes landing on motorways, despite the barriers and stanchions.

0:27:110:27:16

'The flat tarmac makes a perfect makeshift helipad.

0:27:160:27:20

'Thanks to the police,

0:27:200:27:22

'both carriageways are closed, so Tim can make a swift landing.'

0:27:220:27:28

On the carriageway now.

0:27:280:27:31

'Helimed 99 has just arrived in time.'

0:27:320:27:36

We'll bring our spinal board.

0:27:360:27:39

'Crews have released the lorry driver.

0:27:400:27:43

'But, with nearly 100 tons of metal colliding at motorway speeds,

0:27:430:27:48

'everyone's worried.'

0:27:480:27:51

He's got facial injuries

0:27:510:27:53

where the van's gone through the windscreen of the HGV.

0:27:530:27:57

He's complaining of pain in his chest but it's just his face that is the concern.

0:27:570:28:03

'Unsurprisingly,

0:28:030:28:06

'people who clock up thousands of miles a year driving for a living

0:28:060:28:10

'are more likely to be involved in accidents.

0:28:100:28:14

'Last year, over 7,000 professional drivers

0:28:140:28:17

'were killed or seriously injured.

0:28:170:28:19

'If you've ever been stuck in a jam like this,

0:28:190:28:23

'you'll know how these unfortunate motorists feel.

0:28:230:28:27

'It could be hours before this stretch reopens.

0:28:270:28:30

'They're unwittingly hampering the Helimed team.'

0:28:300:28:34

I'm trying to phone the air desk on the mobile

0:28:340:28:38

to arrange Northern General so they're standing by,

0:28:380:28:42

but we've got "network busy".

0:28:420:28:44

Which is a couple of thousand cars either side of us phoning work

0:28:440:28:50

to say they're going to be late.

0:28:500:28:52

'The impact in a smash like this is immense.

0:28:520:28:56

'Amazingly, the driver of this car had only minor injuries.'

0:28:560:29:01

Take off.

0:29:010:29:03

'The driver faces plastic surgery in Sheffield.

0:29:030:29:06

'These injuries may have been preventable.

0:29:060:29:10

'Few lorries have air bags and some drivers don't wear seatbelts.

0:29:100:29:15

'Weeks, if not months, of treatment lie ahead.

0:29:150:29:18

'It's probably the last thing on the driver's mind,

0:29:180:29:22

'but he's likely to face a police investigation into the crash.'

0:29:220:29:26

One, two, three, lift.

0:29:260:29:28

'His collision with the van suggests that,

0:29:280:29:32

'like nine out of ten motorway accidents, this tragedy was caused by driver error.'

0:29:320:29:39

The steering wheel was resting on his chest.

0:29:390:29:42

The engine bay had come into the cab as well.

0:29:420:29:46

Luckily, it wasn't pinning his legs.

0:29:460:29:48

At any greater speed,

0:29:480:29:51

you're looking at a lot more serious injuries.

0:29:510:29:54

He's got a lot of hard work from plastic surgeons.

0:29:540:29:58

Looking at the injuries, he's going to have a long time in hospital.

0:29:580:30:03

Speed is the biggest killer on our roads.

0:30:030:30:07

On a motorway, you don't even have to be moving to be in danger.

0:30:070:30:12

'Around 1,500 people a year are killed or seriously injured

0:30:120:30:17

'while on the hard shoulder.

0:30:170:30:19

'Helimed 99 is hovering above one of the busiest stretches in Europe,

0:30:210:30:26

'where the A1 meets the M62.

0:30:260:30:29

'An accident here causes havoc, and this is a bad one.

0:30:290:30:33

'A man changing a tyre on the hard shoulder has been hit by a HGV.'

0:30:330:30:38

He's been on the inside, changing a tyre.

0:30:380:30:42

'This urban motorway is crisscrossed by powerlines,

0:30:420:30:46

'where Yorkshire's power stations feed into the national grid.

0:30:460:30:50

'Pilot John Slater has thousands of hours of flying time,

0:30:500:30:54

'but landing here is not for the fainthearted.'

0:30:540:31:00

Got wires down the righthand side.

0:31:000:31:03

-All looks good.

-You are good to go.

0:31:030:31:07

He's been struck from behind by an HGV, changing a wheel.

0:31:070:31:11

The van's gone sideways onto him and pushed him over with some force.

0:31:110:31:17

'This is a "swoop and go".

0:31:170:31:19

'The best place for Joel is a trauma centre.

0:31:190:31:23

'The crew stabilise him, get him onto a spinal board

0:31:230:31:27

'and on his way to the helicopter parked up on the hard shoulder.'

0:31:270:31:32

Beautiful!

0:31:340:31:36

The main concern is his abdomen.

0:31:360:31:39

He's got a probable puncture to his abdomen and he's quite sore.

0:31:390:31:43

We think it's internal bleeding, maybe.

0:31:430:31:46

So, get him on the vehicle, get some lines up,

0:31:460:31:51

give him fluids if he needs them and give him a proper assessment.

0:31:510:31:56

Toes are clear.

0:31:560:31:58

Perfect.

0:31:590:32:01

'It's evening and the sun is low, dazzling the crew.

0:32:010:32:05

'It could have been a factor but the investigation team decides that.'

0:32:050:32:10

I'm going to stop this carriageway and the other.

0:32:100:32:13

That allows the Air Ambulance to take off.

0:32:130:32:17

'The accident happened down the road from the hospital.

0:32:170:32:21

'As gridlock builds on the M62, by road, it could be the next county!'

0:32:210:32:26

It would be bad enough being inside the vehicle.

0:32:260:32:29

But to be hit by a vehicle at speed stood at the side of the road...

0:32:290:32:34

He's a lucky chap. I can't believe he's here, to be honest.

0:32:340:32:39

'Lucky Joel was home after just a few days in hospital.'

0:32:390:32:44

Here's some advice.

0:32:440:32:46

If you break down on the motorway, pull onto the hard shoulder,

0:32:460:32:51

put your hazard warning lights on, leave the vehicle

0:32:510:32:55

but, most importantly, keep away from the carriageway.

0:32:550:32:59

'Today, Helimed 99 has just dealt with an injured off-road biker

0:32:590:33:04

'when a more serious case comes in.'

0:33:040:33:07

One fatal, two trapped.

0:33:070:33:09

'Emergency services are dealing with a motorway pile-up in Cheshire.'

0:33:090:33:16

The Manchester Air Ambulance is out. We can't fall back on them.

0:33:160:33:21

It's one of those situations!

0:33:210:33:23

'This journey takes them through the congested approach path

0:33:230:33:28

'into one of the UK's biggest airports.'

0:33:280:33:31

Helimed 99 Alpha.

0:33:310:33:33

Request to transit controlled airspace.

0:33:330:33:36

'For pilot Tim, this is hard work.

0:33:360:33:39

'Simon's navigation must be precise.

0:33:390:33:42

'There's risk of a mid-air collision in these crowded skies.'

0:33:420:33:47

A busy area of airspace with Manchester International Airport.

0:33:470:33:52

They're usually dead good to us and give us priority clearances.

0:33:520:33:57

'On the M6 in Cheshire, there's been a multiple pile-up.

0:33:570:34:01

'A mobile home's crossed the central barrier and hit oncoming traffic.'

0:34:010:34:07

It collided with a taxi and caused two vehicles to collide, four in total.

0:34:070:34:13

Helimed 99, go ahead.

0:34:130:34:15

ON RADIO: 'Update. This is on the main carriageway.

0:34:150:34:21

'They're looking for you to set down on the M6 southbound, south of 21A.

0:34:210:34:27

'It has been closed off, as far as I'm aware, at the moment.'

0:34:270:34:32

'With motorway speeds, this can result in an impact of 140mph or more.

0:34:320:34:38

'Sadly, the driver of a taxi has been killed.'

0:34:380:34:42

See the ambulance on our nose?

0:34:420:34:44

The police have to shut both sides of the motorway off.

0:34:440:34:49

Failing that, we'll land as near as we can.

0:34:490:34:52

'The woman driving the mobile home has survived,

0:34:520:34:57

'trapped in the shattered wreckage.'

0:34:570:34:59

Let's have a good look at this.

0:34:590:35:02

-Got wires on this side.

-Nothing crossing the carriageway.

0:35:020:35:06

We'll come in over those light stanchions and put it here,

0:35:060:35:11

on the carriageway where the accident's happened.

0:35:110:35:14

'The police have closed the motorway allowing Tim to touch down.

0:35:140:35:18

'Speed caused the driver's injuries. Now, it might save her life.'

0:35:180:35:24

-OK on my left?

-Clear on the left.

0:35:240:35:27

'Mobile homes are little more than vans with a lightweight shell.

0:35:270:35:32

'The impact has shattered the living area.

0:35:320:35:36

'Debris makes it harder for firefighters to free the driver.'

0:35:360:35:40

-Hello, mate.

-All right?

0:35:400:35:43

This lady trapped at the minute. Her legs are bent back beneath her.

0:35:430:35:48

We can't gauge exactly what the problem is with the legs.

0:35:480:35:53

There seems to be bleeding from this right one.

0:35:530:35:57

You don't know whether...

0:35:570:35:59

'This accident has paralysed the northwest's motorway network,

0:35:590:36:04

'but emergency services can't afford to worry about that.

0:36:040:36:08

'The driver is seriously injured. Local doctors are treating her.

0:36:080:36:13

'Until her legs are freed, there's a limit to what can be done.'

0:36:130:36:18

One person dead.

0:36:180:36:20

Someone trapped in the wreckage.

0:36:200:36:22

There's a medical team here from a local hospital.

0:36:220:36:27

They're getting her pain relief sorted out.

0:36:270:36:30

I'll get our spinal board and we'll take her to the nearest hospital.

0:36:300:36:34

'The fire crews are equipped with the latest hydraulic cutting gear,

0:36:340:36:40

'but the steel shell is tougher than they expected.

0:36:400:36:44

'At last, the woman is freed.'

0:36:440:36:47

It looks all right. That's a good sign.

0:36:470:36:51

As you can see from the van, she did have a massive impact.

0:36:510:36:56

'The patient took months to recover from the accident.

0:36:560:37:00

'She was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and given a suspended prison sentence.'

0:37:000:37:07

The van had taken quite an impact

0:37:070:37:09

at the front and the side.

0:37:090:37:12

I'm not sure how much was the fire brigade and how much was the impact!

0:37:120:37:16

It doesn't get much worse than that.

0:37:160:37:19

Life and death on the motorway.

0:37:190:37:22

But, as these guys will tell you,

0:37:220:37:24

you're more likely to be killed or seriously injured on an A-road.

0:37:240:37:29

Let's find out how Malcolm Pipes is doing,

0:37:290:37:32

the man whose hand was severed

0:37:320:37:35

in an accident involving an electric saw at his workshop.

0:37:350:37:39

'At the Leeds General Infirmary, the team of doctors and plastic surgeons

0:37:390:37:44

'are examining an injury they've never seen before.

0:37:440:37:47

'Furniture maker Malcolm Pipes has cut his left hand clean off

0:37:470:37:52

'with this saw in his workshop near Thirsk.

0:37:520:37:55

'Malcolm and his hand are immediately prepared for surgery.

0:37:550:38:00

'Consultant Mr Howard Peach attempts a procedure he's never done before,

0:38:000:38:05

'reattaching a severed hand.'

0:38:050:38:09

It's probably not a procedure a lot of plastic surgeons will have done.

0:38:090:38:14

'The X-ray of Malcolm's forearm and hand highlights the challenge.'

0:38:140:38:20

The principles are one of stabilising the hand,

0:38:200:38:24

fixing the hand back onto the arm, so the bony skeleton is stable.

0:38:240:38:30

Then you have a background on which to repair the tendons, nerves,

0:38:300:38:35

blood vessels and the skin over the top.

0:38:350:38:38

'It's painstakingly intricate surgery

0:38:380:38:42

'but six hours later, it's over.

0:38:420:38:44

'Two weeks later, Malcolm's back for his first checkup.

0:38:440:38:50

'Against all the odds,

0:38:500:38:52

'and thanks to Mr Peach and his team,

0:38:520:38:55

'Malcolm's hand has been successfully sewn on.'

0:38:550:38:59

It's nice and clean. There's no evidence of infection.

0:38:590:39:03

The physiotherapist will try and increase the passive movement.

0:39:030:39:08

-They're the...?

-Physioterrorists.

0:39:080:39:10

'No-one knows how much movement Malcolm will regain.

0:39:100:39:15

'It's been difficult, as Malcolm struggled to come to terms with what happened.'

0:39:150:39:20

You could have bled to death.

0:39:200:39:23

When you see all these people,

0:39:230:39:26

makes you realise how lucky I've been, really.

0:39:260:39:31

I mean, me hand's on. It's so marvellous. I can't take it all in.

0:39:310:39:37

'In a picturesque Yorkshire village, Malcolm's workshop is quiet.

0:39:370:39:43

'When you look around, this is the work of no ordinary carpenter.

0:39:430:39:48

'For 35 years, Malcolm handcrafted furniture

0:39:480:39:53

'for the world famous cabinetmaker the Mouseman of Kilburn,

0:39:530:39:57

'before setting out on his own.'

0:39:570:40:01

I carved that out of a ha'penny mould.

0:40:010:40:04

Down each leg of the mirror,

0:40:040:40:07

there's oak leaves and acorns going down.

0:40:070:40:11

'Despite what happened here, Malcolm can't keep away.'

0:40:110:40:15

That sits on top of there.

0:40:150:40:19

Then the mirror goes on top of here up here.

0:40:190:40:23

'This is what he does. The pride he takes in it is still there.'

0:40:230:40:29

This is something I do and always wanted to do.

0:40:290:40:33

SIGHS

0:40:350:40:37

Somebody has to do it, haven't they?

0:40:370:40:39

Don't think I'll do it again but it hasn't...

0:40:390:40:43

I've still got a love for it.

0:40:430:40:46

And I will have till the day I die. I can't help it.

0:40:460:40:49

'Malcolm gets on with things.'

0:40:490:40:52

'That even means dealing with the power saw that took his hand off.'

0:40:520:40:57

It's a marvellous thing. It's also dangerous.

0:40:570:41:01

Unfortunately, I found out.

0:41:010:41:03

I don't know what happened. Something attracted me.

0:41:030:41:07

I can't remember. I don't want to go into it.

0:41:070:41:10

I've laid in bed thinking about it.

0:41:100:41:13

I'm sorry, I can't.

0:41:130:41:15

I can't.

0:41:150:41:17

'The question Malcolm wants answered is will he be able to work again?'

0:41:170:41:24

I knew what I'd done. I'll never forget it.

0:41:250:41:30

You don't realise the consequences it's caused, do you?

0:41:300:41:35

I don't know. Just happened so quick.

0:41:350:41:39

'It's too early to tell.

0:41:390:41:41

'Surgeons say it's rare to regain full dexterity in a reattached hand.

0:41:410:41:46

'But Malcolm hasn't given up hope.'

0:41:460:41:49

It's no good bawling my eyes out cos I had a lovely life.

0:41:490:41:53

I've done all I wanted to do.

0:41:530:41:56

Maybe not got everything finished I wanted to finish but...

0:41:560:42:00

I can't complain.

0:42:000:42:03

'When Helicopter Heroes comes back - holiday rescue.

0:42:030:42:07

'Sammy recruits an army of day trippers to save her patient.'

0:42:070:42:11

If at any time you are not happy, shout, "Stop!"

0:42:110:42:15

'There's a major emergency, as a car crashes into a crowded pub.'

0:42:170:42:22

Dust and brickwork going everywhere.

0:42:220:42:25

'Helimed 99 takes a trip to the seaside after a man collapses.'

0:42:250:42:31

Time is the most important thing.

0:42:310:42:34

'And a cyclist run over by a tractor fights for his life.'

0:42:350:42:39

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:42:520:42:55

A man severs his hand in an accident with a saw, but the team are determined to save it. Paramedic Lee is called to help out his girlfriend as a 999 call threatens their Valentine's Day supper, and helimed 99 brings a motorway to a halt. With Rav Wilding.


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