Episode 17 Helicopter Heroes


Episode 17

Series following the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. A nurse becomes a difficult patient for the helimed team, and there is a race to save a farm worker trapped in machinery.


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Transcript


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If you're critically ill or seriously 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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It doesn't matter where you are - this helicopter

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with its highly trained team of pilots and paramedics

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will fly to the rescue at 2.5 miles a minute.

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These are Yorkshire's Helicopter Heroes.

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When the people of 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 one brings a new life-or-death emergency.

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Today on Helicopter Heroes:

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paramedic Sammy meets a difficult patient.

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-Stop it. Stop it!

-All right, darlin'.

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The team fight to save a farm worker trapped in a baling machine.

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..Amputation, this time at the shoulder.

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It's a tight squeeze as paramedic Tony leads the operation

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to rescue the victim of a bizarre accident.

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Is it any better?

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And a holiday on the coast ends in a serious crash.

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A nasty open skull fracture...

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£7,000 a day.

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150 miles an hour. 8,000 missions.

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Everything revolves around statistics, even in the emergency services.

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But today's patient involves another important number.

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And it's a big one.

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70 miles. Even at 2.5 miles a minute,

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today's patient is nearly half an hour away from base.

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It adds up to a long wait for an injured woman,

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but Helimed 98 will be there as quickly as the crew can make it.

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'Helimed 98. For your information, our ETA will be 13.33.

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'We are experiencing some visibility challenges at the moment, over.'

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On the east coast, a woman has fallen off her horse on a cliff-top path.

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OK.

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Stop it.

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Stop it!

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Louise Baker is a nurse specialising in brain injuries.

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She's usually professional and caring,

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but her personality has changed after the fall.

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Stop it. It won't help.

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Emergency paramedics are so concerned by Louise's behaviour,

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they've called in the local police helicopter.

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She's dangerously close to the cliff-edge.

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The team are heading for Withernsea,

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a seaside resort 20 miles east of Hull.

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Helimed 98, that's received.

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Is it possible, if we're considering head injury and agitated,

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to get a doctor? Otherwise she'd be inappropriate to be flown.

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Before the crew even arrive, paramedics Sammy Wills and Al Day

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are formulating a plan to help their patient.

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But they're already faced with a dilemma.

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We believe the information from the scene is that she's quite agitated,

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and not co-ordinating with them.

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She's refusing oxygen and refusing being put on to a longboard.

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RADIO CHATTER

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-All right there?

-This is Louise.

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Bang on the head, there.

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Hello! How you doing?

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Open your eyes for me.

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Louise fell off her horse over an hour ago.

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But the ambulance crews have been unable to calm her down.

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Let go, let go, let go!

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Help, help, help, help.

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Help. Help!

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Despite wearing a helmet,

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Louise is showing all the classic symptoms of a serious brain injury.

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Stop it!

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All right, darlin'. Relax.

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Any medic will tell you that patients like this are almost impossible to treat.

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Sammy knows Louise could have spine and neck injuries,

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and by being so agitated, she could be making these worse.

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That lady was becoming my patient.

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I wanted to fly her to a hospital as soon as possible.

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A head injury is particularly serious.

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But my challenge was, I couldn't keep her safe.

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She was fighting, she was combative,

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her personality had totally changed.

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Stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it!

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She's quite agitated at the moment.

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Unless she's sedated, we can't really safely fly her.

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We're just trying to formulate a plan about how to get her to hospital.

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Sedating patients can be dangerous, so only doctors are allowed to.

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Hi, Doctor. It's Chris ringing from the air ambulance.

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Back at Helimed HQ in Leeds, it's up to dispatcher Chris Solomons to find one.

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They definitely need a doctor that can RSI on scene.

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Do you know what your ETA is?

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Back on the east coast, Louise is refusing to lie down

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and there's no way that Sammy can keep her still,

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a vital part in preventing patients from suffering further injuries.

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Sit down. You're going to be sick now.

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Until a doctor can be found, Louise is a risk to herself,

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and to her rescuers.

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Coming up, Louise's bizarre behaviour forces the team

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to call in a doctor with strong sedatives.

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Stay sat down. Louise...

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An elderly motorist's car careers halfway down a Pennine hillside.

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-Oh, my God.

-We're just gonna cut some of this steering wheel off, so we can get you out.

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And on the east coast, there's a sea rescue as a canoeist fights for his life.

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He's capsized, and he's swallowed quite a bit of water.

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Summer brings big changes for Yorkshire's countryside.

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Lanes fill with traffic, and local businesses are busy trying to make enough money

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to get through the next winter.

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But summer also brings big challenges for the Helimed team.

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Farmers have just a few weeks to turn their fields full of crops into cash.

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But for one young farmer in West Yorkshire,

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this harvest could be his last.

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BEEPING

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The machine was running, I had to stop it.

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While baling hay, farmer Michael has got his arm stuck

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in this piece of machinery.

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The sharp rotating blades have caused life-threatening injuries.

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We're definitely required.

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We're making tracks as quick as we can to get them some help.

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That farm there, that farm in front.

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See them on there, it's on the right of that farm.

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OK, yeah. The field obviously with the combine harvester.

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Michael's in the middle of the field he was harvesting,

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and although local ambulances have struggled to reach him,

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the Helimed team can land right next to the scene.

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-How we doing?

-Partial amputation, left arm at the shoulder.

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I've been ages finding a vein, I've just got one in.

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Can you feel me touching you there?

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You can't. Right, OK.

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I believe he was working on the top of the bale and got his arm caught in the machinery.

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When I came, he'd been released. I was first here.

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Michael's girlfriend Amy and friend Keith

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managed to pull him out of the baler

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and Keith is now playing a pivotal role in his treatment.

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His arm is almost severed. He's losing blood fast,

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and raising his legs can help maintain blood circulation to his brain.

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Have you got any pain at the moment? I know you've been asked before.

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No pain at all? All right, buddy.

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He's no sensation in his hand or anything like that.

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But it's still attached.

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The human body contains about five litres of blood.

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You can lose a little, but any more than a third and you're unlikely to survive.

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Looks like it's gone right round and just left it attached at the top.

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Obviously very dangerous, these, they've got a lot of moving parts

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and people try and free stuff and they get caught in them,

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and they're unforgiving.

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And so he's got the risk of losing it, I don't know yet.

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We'll get him straight to Leeds, where the plastics are.

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The machine has cut through arteries, tendons and bone,

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and Michael has no feeling in his fingers.

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BEEPING

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-Any medical problems?

-No.

-Right.

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Michael's losing blood out of the wound at an alarming rate.

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This means his blood pressure is dropping.

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He could go into cardiac arrest and stop breathing at any moment.

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Right, we're just gonna put a board underneath you.

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I'll lift from the shoulders...

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Lift you up slightly, then we'll push the board along.

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One, two, three, go.

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Great stuff.

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The team have stabilised Michael,

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but in this environment it's almost impossible to prevent infection,

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and that could jeopardise his chances of making a full recovery.

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Coming up - the trauma unit's on standby for Michael,

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but doctors know the chances of saving his life, never mind his arm, aren't good.

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The orthopaedic surgeons are here, and the plastic surgeons, and they're taking him to theatre.

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And it's holiday season in North Yorkshire,

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but the team haven't got time to enjoy the scenery.

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Too many holidays are ending in accidents.

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She was just a dead weight, so I couldn't do anything.

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The Helimed team spend their lives fighting nature.

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They're always up against the weather,

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and the rugged Yorkshire landscape

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does its best to get in their way too.

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But there's a man-made obstruction they hate more than any other.

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Hundreds of miles of high-tension cables criss-cross the countryside,

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and they can be lethal.

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High in the Pennines near Halifax, there's been a freak accident.

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A disabled driver has crashed after losing control of her car.

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Now, pilot Steve must avoid power cables that surround the scene.

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We've got to think about our safety as much as the patient's safety,

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so we need to make sure that if there's any danger

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that the electricity's all turned off

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and that somebody's dealt with the power before we go near it,

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otherwise we could have four more casualties.

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Not even rubber boots will help in this job.

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Not sure how good they'd be with 50,000 volts

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running down your legs, but I wouldn't like to find out.

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From the air, it's clear the car has careered

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half a mile down a steep hill and hit a tree.

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Pilot Steve wants to get his medics as close to the scene as possible -

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power lines permitting.

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CRACKLY CHATTER

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-You can see, can't you?

-Gonna be a pain.

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Luckily, there's just enough room to land.

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The accident's left a trail of debris.

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70-year-old Lorraine Kershaw has survived three big impacts

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with two dry-stone walls and a tree.

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Now she's trapped in the footwell of her battered hatchback

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and both her legs are pinned under the dashboard.

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I just heard the noise of the car come through the wall as it left the lane,

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so I just come on foot to see what's gone on.

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I called the emergency services and kept her company until they got here.

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Just got a few details. She's a GCS 15,

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she's complaining of rib pain and back pain.

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I don't have an approximate age. I'll get back to you, over.

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Tony can't believe how lucky his patient has been, despite her injuries.

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Had the car not hit this tree, Lorraine would have plunged

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a further quarter of a mile to the bottom of the hill,

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and into a deep lake.

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She's all right, but she's in quite a lot of pain.

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So we just want to get her out as quick as we can, yeah.

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It's in an awkward position, wedged against a tree.

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There's severe damage to the front of the vehicle

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and, er, the driver is now pinned inside the vehicle with the dashboard.

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So we're having to work around that.

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In again now. You'll hear a bang again in a minute.

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Hopefully this will be the last one now.

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Lorraine already has some medical problems and uses a wheelchair.

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She was still able to drive, but it's almost impossible for Kate and Tony

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to establish whether she's suffered additional injuries to her legs.

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-Is your pain all in your back?

-In my back, and my ribs.

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In your ribs? OK.

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We're just trying to get a needle in the arm to get you some pain relief.

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Lorraine was on her way to work as an RSPCA volunteer,

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helping exercise unwanted animals, when she lost control on a minor road.

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Tony's aware she could be bleeding internally,

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and that could be fatal.

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-Oh, my God.

-We're just going to cut this steering wheel so we can get you out.

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How's your pain now? Are you still in a lot of pain?

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I can't do it any more.

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You can, come on.

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Do you feel like you need some more painkiller?

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-I just need to get out.

-Let's give you a bit before we move you.

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Ready, steady, move.

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Ouch!

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All right, love.

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If anybody can see if her leg's under the pedals, if possible?

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The team release Lorraine, and Tony gets his first chance to examine her.

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Can you feel me touching you here?

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How about your neck, sweetheart, any pain?

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No pain in your shoulders, or your chest?

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Talking about pain in her hip.

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She might have a fracture to one of her legs,

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but she seems fairly stable.

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Give her some morphine for the pain, obviously with moving her

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we've made that a bit worse. She's done really well.

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The crew don't want to hang around.

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Kate and Tony often see older patients deteriorate quickly,

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and they don't want that to happen in a field,

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never mind in the back of a helicopter.

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Take it easy...

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The road Lorraine was driving on is over a quarter of a mile away,

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so without Helimed 99 she'd have faced a long journey back up the hill to a land ambulance.

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That's what these guys do best - getting their patients to hospital quickly.

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And Lorraine's heading for one of the country's leading trauma units,

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Leeds General Infirmary.

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We're quite concerned that she's got some major trauma injuries,

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just cos of where we found her.

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It's her pelvis we're quite concerned about,

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and her legs, really.

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As we're coming up, she did drop her blood pressure quite quickly and severely,

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which again is suggesting there's some kind of internal bleeding.

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Lorraine spends three weeks in a high-dependency ward.

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Her injuries are so severe her family are told to come and say their goodbyes.

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But, to all the medical team's surprise, she pulls through.

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And just a month later, she's well enough to sit up in bed.

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I was very poorly, it was touch and go.

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I was really on...

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They didn't think I would pull through.

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My son took his sister

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and they all gathered here upstairs.

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And they was all told to come and say goodbye to their mum.

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It's rare for patients like Lorraine to remember what's happened

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but she's been getting regular flashbacks.

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The car just took straight off.

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And it didn't drive, it flew.

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The Helimed team often see the lethal consequences of drivers who hit trees.

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But Lorraine has a different story.

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There was actually after that tree a big drop.

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And someone did say to my daughter if I'd have gone down there

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they'd never find me.

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"You were the luckiest person in this world."

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Even the doctors said that to me.

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Coming up...

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A trapped farm worker's condition is critical

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as doctors prepare to operate.

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And the team are called to rescue a boy who's been lucky to survive a fall through a skylight.

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Do you fancy flying in a helicopter?

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Speed is the whole point of using a helicopter -

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to get to your patient quickly and get them to hospital care even faster.

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But sometimes a short delay on the ground to deliver vital medical treatment

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is time well spent.

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On a coastal path, 20 miles east of Hull,

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the crew of Helimed 98 are struggling to treat an injured horse rider.

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Since falling off her horse, Louise Baker has been uncooperative and aggressive -

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behaviour that's completely out of character

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and that's worrying paramedics Sammy Wills and Al Day.

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-Stop it!

-You're all right, darling. Just relax.

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They think Louise has suffered a serious head injury

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but until they can calm her down,

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it's not safe to fly her to hospital.

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A common problem we have with people in this sort of condition,

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where there's a balance between them being protected

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by the spinal board and restraining them,

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which is something we don't want to do,

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cos that can cause damage.

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Louise's riding pals can't believe how strangely their friend is behaving.

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She'd be mortified if we played this back to her, absolutely,

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cos she's so helpful with everybody - kids and everything.

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Ironically, Louise is a nurse and specialises in neurology.

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She deals with people suffering from exactly the same symptoms

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on a daily basis.

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I just had visions in my mind of how many times she'd turned round

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and looked at me in the eye and told me, you know,

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to get off.

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It was a scary experience

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and at the time I was almost pleading with everyone around -

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"Can anybody else think of anything else we can do to help this lady."

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Sammy's using all her experience to try and coax Louise into cooperating.

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Just let her got on with her job. Come on, stay sat down.

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But, finally, help has arrived.

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Local GP, Dr Neil McDonald, carries a strong sedative

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which should calm Louise down.

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It's OK, I'm not very well...

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They have no option but to restrain Louise so Dr McDonald can safely inject the drug.

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Will you let go of me!

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Stop it!

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The skull protects over 10 million nerve cells in our brain

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but it's only a few millimetres thick.

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Louise's symptoms suggest she's injured the front of her brain

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and if any arteries or veins have been damaged

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her condition will quickly deteriorate.

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She'll be feeling nice and relaxed now

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and all of that tension she had will have disappeared.

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You're hurting, you're hurting...

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-We're not there to hurt you. We're here to help, OK?

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Fantastic.

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We are quite concerned about her.

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It's very out of character.

0:19:300:19:32

Apparently this lady works as a nurse so to be behaving in this way would not be normal for her at all

0:19:320:19:38

so we're pretty certain it's the result of a head injury.

0:19:380:19:41

Now sedated, the team can finally start to follow the paramedic textbook

0:19:440:19:48

and immobilise Louise.

0:19:480:19:49

OK, then. We'll be lifting up. Ready, steady, lift.

0:19:500:19:54

And down. Nice and steady, thank you very much.

0:19:570:20:00

But all the medics know the damage maybe have already been done.

0:20:000:20:03

You don't let patients stand up and walk around

0:20:030:20:07

that have fallen off of a horse.

0:20:070:20:09

And unfortunately, on this occasion,

0:20:090:20:11

that's what happened.

0:20:110:20:13

In this condition, Sammy's happy to fly Louise to hospital.

0:20:140:20:18

-How long will this last for?

-I don't know.

0:20:180:20:20

But not even Dr McDonald knows how long the sedative will last.

0:20:200:20:24

And it wears off in-flight, that could cause big problems for the whole team.

0:20:240:20:30

Lift.

0:20:300:20:31

They plan to fly Louise to the hospital where she works,

0:20:320:20:35

the Hull Royal Infirmary.

0:20:350:20:36

But it's 10 minutes away by air.

0:20:360:20:39

Coming up...

0:20:430:20:45

Louise's colleagues begin to treat a helpful nurse who's suddenly become a difficult patient.

0:20:450:20:50

I was shocked to hear that Louise was down in A&E.

0:20:500:20:53

And high up the Moors, the hot summer gets the better of an exhausted rambler.

0:20:540:20:58

She was just a deadweight so I couldn't do anything.

0:20:580:21:02

Now, let's catch up on that case we brought you earlier

0:21:060:21:09

and the paramedics have their work cut out.

0:21:090:21:12

At a farm near Otley in West Yorkshire,

0:21:130:21:15

harvesting has come to an abrupt halt.

0:21:150:21:17

There's been a serious accident

0:21:170:21:19

and a young farmer is critically injured after trapping his arm in a hay-baling machine.

0:21:190:21:24

It looks like it's gone right round and just left it attached at the top.

0:21:240:21:28

Michael Garth is only 26

0:21:280:21:31

but he's fighting for his life.

0:21:310:21:32

He's lost a lot of blood

0:21:320:21:34

and his body is struggling to cope.

0:21:340:21:36

Can you squeeze my fingers?

0:21:370:21:39

No, OK.

0:21:390:21:40

His rescuers including Helimed 99's Colin Jones and Lee Davison,

0:21:400:21:45

are not just there to save his life.

0:21:450:21:47

They're also trying to save his arm.

0:21:470:21:50

You're going to be OK, all right. OK?

0:21:520:21:53

There's nobody saying that you're going to lose it but...

0:21:530:21:57

All right? OK.

0:22:010:22:02

It'll be about 3 or 4 minutes and we'll be there, all right?

0:22:020:22:05

The team know that despite all their efforts

0:22:070:22:09

and the expertise of the waiting surgeons at the Leeds General Infirmary,

0:22:090:22:13

infection will almost certainly set in.

0:22:130:22:16

And doctors sometimes have no choice but to amputate limbs to stop infection from spreading.

0:22:160:22:22

RADIO CHATTER

0:22:230:22:26

It's estimated one person every week dies working on a farm.

0:22:260:22:31

And agriculture has the highest death rate of almost any industry.

0:22:320:22:36

But Michael's a fit young man and he'll need all his strength to overcome this ordeal.

0:22:370:22:42

Pins and needles. That was more than you had before.

0:22:440:22:47

-You said you had nothing before.

-Yeah.

0:22:470:22:49

Yeah, OK.

0:22:490:22:50

Michael's wheeled straight in to Resus,

0:22:500:22:53

the area where the most seriously injured patients are assessed.

0:22:530:22:56

Doctors and consultant plastic surgeons

0:22:560:22:59

as well as a team of highly-qualified nursing staff have rushed in to help.

0:22:590:23:03

They've got him stabilised. They've exposed the arm.

0:23:030:23:07

The orthopaedic surgeons are here and the plastic surgeons

0:23:070:23:10

and that's him going off to theatre.

0:23:100:23:12

We've obviously got a risk of infection

0:23:120:23:15

with it being wide open like that.

0:23:150:23:16

And obviously a high risk of bleeding

0:23:160:23:18

- a lot of the main arteries run down into the nerves and the arm and stuff.

0:23:180:23:22

The sooner that they're there, the better.

0:23:220:23:25

Michael undergoes emergency surgery to stem the bleeding and clean the open wound.

0:23:250:23:30

Doctors estimate he's lost more than 80% of the blood in his body.

0:23:300:23:35

Very few people survive after losing so much.

0:23:360:23:40

But after two weeks in intensive care,

0:23:430:23:46

Michael pulls through. And after surprising the doctors once,

0:23:460:23:50

he does it again. Just three weeks after the accident, he's back on the farm.

0:23:500:23:55

When I first looked at it,

0:23:560:23:59

I thought, "Oh, dear!"

0:23:590:24:01

When I lied down, I could feel it lying dead on me chest.

0:24:010:24:05

Cos there was just absolutely nowt there. It was crushed to...

0:24:070:24:10

Completely, I thought I'd lost my arm then

0:24:100:24:12

but they tried to save it in hospital but I knew it were gone then.

0:24:120:24:16

It were that mangled.

0:24:160:24:18

For many amputees it takes years to come to terms with losing a limb.

0:24:180:24:22

But not Michael.

0:24:220:24:24

I've always said that baler would get me one day.

0:24:250:24:28

I've done it thousands of times, flipped, bonded, not a problem.

0:24:280:24:32

But I always knew it were going to get me

0:24:330:24:35

and sort of physically I've built myself up to that.

0:24:350:24:38

And I can do most things with this to start with

0:24:380:24:41

but obviously, there's a lot of stuff I can't do.

0:24:410:24:44

They say they might be able to get a prosthetic

0:24:440:24:47

so maybe in about six months, I might be back up, fully fit.

0:24:470:24:51

Hopefully.

0:24:510:24:53

I've always given to t'charity and I've always said, "I'll need their number."

0:24:580:25:02

Absolutely, spot on.

0:25:020:25:04

Coming up...

0:25:090:25:10

Nurse Louise treats patients with head injuries.

0:25:100:25:12

Now her family's waiting to find out how serious hers is.

0:25:120:25:16

You save up all year for those precious two weeks on holiday

0:25:200:25:24

and you know it's going to be the shortest fortnight of the year.

0:25:240:25:27

But one visitor's break in Yorkshire came to an end even sooner.

0:25:270:25:31

Thousands of holidaymakers hit the road to explore Yorkshire each summer

0:25:330:25:37

Hitching up the family caravan for a week in the great outdoors.

0:25:370:25:41

Behind the Yorkshire Wolds, one couple's break has ended in a major accident.

0:25:410:25:45

Heading home from Scarborough, their caravan has been torn apart as it rolled over.

0:25:450:25:50

Taking their two-ton Land Rover Discovery with it.

0:25:500:25:53

Now both are trapped in their upturned car.

0:25:530:25:56

Can't understand what she's saying really.

0:25:570:25:59

So we've got a bit of a shimmy on to where a caravan's gone on its side

0:25:590:26:03

and obviously pulled the car over as well.

0:26:030:26:06

Helimed pilot Steve Cobb has some sympathy for the casualties.

0:26:060:26:09

He can handle a helicopter but found a caravan too much of a challenge.

0:26:090:26:14

Yeah, they're not the easiest things to drive.

0:26:140:26:17

It's quite easy to lose control.

0:26:170:26:20

I never went above 45 because I was terrified of the thing.

0:26:200:26:23

But it happens easily.

0:26:230:26:25

It looks like strong winds almost 1,000 feet up in the Wolds have caught out the driver.

0:26:250:26:30

Helimed 99 to air desk.

0:26:310:26:33

We've landed on scene and I'll give you an update ASAP, over.

0:26:330:26:36

Holidaymaker Rachel Copeman was towing a caravan for only the second time when the accident happened.

0:26:360:26:41

Her partner, Joe, has escaped with minor injuries.

0:26:410:26:44

But she's suffered a major wound to the head.

0:26:440:26:47

There's an off-duty paramedic in the car with the lady.

0:26:470:26:50

She's got a very nasty skull... the top of her skull is showing.

0:26:500:26:55

A bit of fat around... And she's complaining of an arm injury.

0:26:550:27:01

No other fractures.

0:27:010:27:03

Paramedic Tony wastes no time in getting as close to Rachel as possible.

0:27:030:27:07

She's now in the passenger seat of her upturned Land Rover.

0:27:070:27:10

What are you like pain-wise, Rachel?

0:27:100:27:13

I'm not bad, I'm just aching.

0:27:130:27:15

You're just aching, are you?

0:27:150:27:17

It's a slow and deliberate procedure extracting patients from cars that have flipped over.

0:27:170:27:23

Are you OK in there, yeah? Ready steady, move.

0:27:230:27:26

RACHEL GROANS

0:27:260:27:28

Rachel just...

0:27:280:27:29

But with a little careful manipulation, Rachel's out.

0:27:290:27:32

We've got a 30-year-old female, driver of the vehicle, with a seatbelt on.

0:27:320:27:37

She has quite a nasty open-skull fracture

0:27:370:27:40

Query, 30 centimetres.

0:27:400:27:42

Rachel won't forget this holiday in a hurry.

0:27:420:27:45

She's suffered two broken vertebrae in her back

0:27:450:27:48

and needed an operation to fit a frame to stabilise her injured neck.

0:27:480:27:52

The head injury needed stitches and the scars will be a lasting reminder of her trip to the Wiltshire coast.

0:27:520:27:58

8 out of 10 visitors to Yorkshire have been before.

0:28:010:28:05

The dales and moors don't change much and that's part of their appeal.

0:28:050:28:09

But sometimes tourists face something unexpected

0:28:090:28:13

and not very pleasant.

0:28:130:28:15

For energetic holidaymakers the Cleveland Way is a major attraction -

0:28:200:28:24

all 110 miles of it.

0:28:240:28:26

It starts near the market town of Helmsley and then heads up on to the North York moors

0:28:280:28:32

before taking in the 1,000-foot high peak of Rosebury Topping.

0:28:320:28:36

You need a good pair of lungs before trying to reach this place

0:28:360:28:40

but the views are worth it.

0:28:400:28:41

And the Cleveland Way is Helimed 99's destination today.

0:28:420:28:46

We've been mobilised to an elderly female who's suffered a collapse

0:28:480:28:52

on the Cleveland Way.

0:28:520:28:53

It's very difficult for vehicular access to get to the patient

0:28:530:28:56

from where she is at the moment so we're just transiting out there.

0:28:560:29:00

And then we'll just assess whether we need to

0:29:000:29:02

transport the patient or just assist the land crew back to the vehicle.

0:29:020:29:06

Free sightseeing is a perk of the job for the Helimed team

0:29:060:29:09

Today's route takes them over the ancient Rievaulx Abbey

0:29:090:29:13

and the steam railway that stars in the Harry Potter movies.

0:29:130:29:17

It's an area Tony knows well.

0:29:170:29:19

I've got like a holiday home in Scarborough,

0:29:190:29:22

so we spend quite a bit of time on the east coast, walking on the Cleveland Way.

0:29:220:29:26

It's really scenic, the path follows the cliff tops.

0:29:260:29:31

We've been in touch with the coast guard. They have local rescue teams

0:29:310:29:35

which can assist us.

0:29:350:29:37

Christine Haig collapsed after climbing a steep set of steps

0:29:370:29:41

near the seaside resort of Sandsend.

0:29:410:29:44

There's a sea breeze and the sea's still cool

0:29:440:29:47

but the sun's making walking hard on the hill tops.

0:29:470:29:50

How are you...again?

0:29:500:29:52

Motor cycle paramedic Jim Bryan has just arrived.

0:29:520:29:55

Always beat the helicopter.

0:29:550:29:57

Haven't long been here myself. Been out for a walk.

0:29:570:30:00

-Hello, sweetheart.

-She collapsed in the bushes here coming up this path.

0:30:000:30:05

They managed to get her up. She was lying down there,

0:30:050:30:08

then moved over here. Complained of pins and needles in her hand.

0:30:080:30:11

Christine's simply exhausted after her climb.

0:30:110:30:15

Her blood sugar level has unexpectedly dropped right down.

0:30:150:30:19

We were going to walk from Sandsend to Runswick Bay,

0:30:190:30:22

have a cup of tea and then walk back again.

0:30:220:30:25

But we got two-thirds of the way up those really steep steps

0:30:250:30:29

and suddenly she just sat down

0:30:290:30:33

and complained of feeling sickly.

0:30:330:30:37

And then there was just nothing there, OK?

0:30:370:30:41

She was just a dead weight, so we couldn't do anything.

0:30:410:30:45

Her symptoms may sound minor, but this is potentially serious.

0:30:450:30:50

When the brain is starved of sugar, you get confused

0:30:500:30:54

and your body can shut down.

0:30:540:30:56

That seems to be what's happened to Christine.

0:30:560:30:59

For the patient, this can be terrifying.

0:30:590:31:02

The symptoms mimic those of having a stroke.

0:31:020:31:05

What that'll do is, because of all that exercise, you've probably burnt a lot of your blood sugars...

0:31:050:31:11

The solution is a sugar gel straight into the patient's mouth

0:31:110:31:16

and instantly absorbed into the bloodstream.

0:31:160:31:18

It's not the best tasting, is it?

0:31:180:31:21

And the effect is almost instantaneous.

0:31:210:31:25

'Basically, the GlucoGel is absorbed quite quickly into your mucosa in your gums.'

0:31:250:31:32

-You're doing well.

-Days like this, when it's really warm, it does take it out of you.

0:31:320:31:36

Just stand.

0:31:360:31:37

Christine's soon on her feet and on her way to hospital.

0:31:370:31:41

She's missed the sights of the Cleveland Way,

0:31:410:31:45

but a bird's-eye view of one of the UK's most rugged coastlines will make up for it.

0:31:450:31:49

They look beautiful, but these waters are a dangerous playground.

0:31:510:31:55

And a few days later, the Helimed team are back at Sandsend

0:31:550:31:59

for another unlucky holidaymaker.

0:31:590:32:02

The onshore lifeboat's been called out to rescue a canoeist suffering from extreme cold.

0:32:020:32:08

By the time Helimed 99 arrives, he's back on dry land, but in trouble.

0:32:080:32:12

We'll have a look at him and take him to Scarborough. He obviously needs warming up.

0:32:120:32:17

Other than that, we're not sure, really.

0:32:170:32:20

One of Alan Holdsworth's kayaking buddies has got him back to shore,

0:32:200:32:25

-but Alan's exhausted and very cold.

-We'll put you some earphones on...

0:32:250:32:29

The arm's a bit cold to take out for a blood pressure, so that's 99%, 100%.

0:32:290:32:35

-We could stay here, it's lovely and warm!

-I know!

0:32:350:32:39

Another urgent trip to Scarborough Hospital is required

0:32:390:32:43

and the roads are blocked with holiday traffic.

0:32:430:32:45

By land, it could take over an hour, by helicopter, ten minutes.

0:32:450:32:49

Right, we'll got straight up...

0:32:490:32:51

This chap's on a canoe, he's capsized

0:32:510:32:54

and swallowed quite a bit of water on the way over.

0:32:540:32:57

So, er, all his obs seems fairly stable, apart from being cold.

0:32:570:33:01

We'll take him to Scarborough and hopefully they'll have a Bair Hugger to warm him up a bit.

0:33:010:33:05

The crew can see that the muscles in Alan's hands have started to spasm,

0:33:050:33:10

and that's a bad sign.

0:33:100:33:11

But his shivering helps his body warm itself up,

0:33:110:33:14

generating heat from the inside.

0:33:140:33:17

There you go, that's right.

0:33:170:33:18

The special thermal bag on the helicopter will finish the job

0:33:180:33:22

and bring Alan's body temperature back up.

0:33:220:33:26

It's just like, er...

0:33:260:33:28

Right, OK, so you're wet through from outside in, really.

0:33:280:33:34

After an uncomfortable night in hospital, Alan was able to go home.

0:33:340:33:38

He's got a lot of people to thank - his mates, the lifeboat crew,

0:33:380:33:41

and the Helimed team all helped in his rescue.

0:33:410:33:45

But his wife has told him to sell his canoe.

0:33:450:33:48

We all have to watch our spending these days and the recession has brought a tourism boom to Yorkshire.

0:33:480:33:54

Why spend four hours on a jet when you can find scenery like this in your own back yard?

0:33:540:34:02

And thousands of people are opting for a "staycation" these days.

0:34:020:34:06

The beaches of the east coast are packed.

0:34:060:34:09

But you can't go to the sands every day.

0:34:090:34:11

And on a family farm in the Vale of York,

0:34:110:34:13

one youngster's adventure holiday at home has ended in tears.

0:34:130:34:18

RADIO CHATTER

0:34:180:34:22

Charlie Bramley has fallen 20 feet

0:34:220:34:25

through a barn skylight and landed on a plough.

0:34:250:34:28

With any fall from height, you can have any manner of significant injuries.

0:34:300:34:34

The ones we're concerned about are back injuries and head injuries

0:34:340:34:40

that can be worrying, especially in a child.

0:34:400:34:44

Charlie was trying to get his rugby ball off the barn roof

0:34:440:34:48

when he slipped. His parents are with him.

0:34:480:34:51

With children, it's often difficult for them

0:34:510:34:54

to express what pain they've got,

0:34:540:34:56

whereabouts it is, so it's difficult to assess how badly they're injured.

0:34:560:35:00

Often, parents are really worried, sometimes unduly, but sometimes with good cause.

0:35:000:35:05

Charlie hasn't moved since he fell.

0:35:050:35:08

His neck or back could be broken.

0:35:080:35:10

-All clear. We've just got that machinery at the edge.

-Yeah.

0:35:110:35:15

-OK to bail out?

-Yeah.

0:35:150:35:18

His parents' farm is near the village of Sherburn-in-Elmet.

0:35:180:35:21

For a chopper at 150mph, it's only 10 minutes from takeoff to landing.

0:35:210:35:26

Right, so this is Charlie?

0:35:260:35:29

Hello, Charlie, buddy.

0:35:290:35:31

It's the ambulance here. You just lay there a second.

0:35:310:35:35

Have we got Mum here? ..Right. So Charlie's fallen through the roof.

0:35:350:35:38

He could have hit this plough, but we're not sure.

0:35:380:35:42

Paramedic Tony has children of his own. He knows exactly

0:35:420:35:46

how to communicate with a young boy who's frightened and in pain.

0:35:460:35:51

Charlie? Hey up, matey? Have you got any pain anywhere?

0:35:510:35:55

-Yes.

-Whereabouts, mate?

-On my back and on my head.

0:35:550:35:59

On your back and head? Can you remember anything that's happened?

0:35:590:36:02

The height that he's fallen, he's really lucky not to have sustained massive injuries,

0:36:020:36:08

like quite serious head and spinal injuries. It's quite high.

0:36:080:36:12

But initial findings suggest he's been quite lucky, which is good.

0:36:120:36:17

All right, buddy, what are we gonna do?

0:36:180:36:21

Charlie's very brave considering the terrible fright he's had,

0:36:250:36:29

losing his footing and tumbling through a skylight.

0:36:290:36:32

We're gonna put you on a board and pop you in our helicopter.

0:36:320:36:36

Fancy flying in our helicopter?

0:36:360:36:38

CHARLIE CRIES

0:36:380:36:40

Normally, the thought of a flight in a helicopter cheers an injured child up.

0:36:400:36:45

-You're not going on your own.

-We're not leaving you.

0:36:450:36:48

CHARLIE CRIES

0:36:480:36:50

But I don't want to!

0:36:500:36:52

You don't like heights?

0:36:520:36:54

You went on an aeroplane last week.

0:36:540:36:58

Fortunately, Mum and Dad are on hand to calm Charlie down

0:36:580:37:01

and prepare him for his flight to hospital.

0:37:010:37:05

-I want to go in the g...

-HE CRIES

0:37:050:37:09

DAD: The green car?

0:37:090:37:11

You'll get there a lot quicker in the helicopter, won't you?

0:37:110:37:15

He's come right through the ceiling up there, and we're right next to this huge plough.

0:37:150:37:21

We're not taking any chances. He's quite distressed.

0:37:210:37:24

It's difficult to assess him, so we'll move him as best we can

0:37:240:37:29

without trying to frighten him.

0:37:290:37:30

We've laid him on a board and we'll take him to hospital so they can look at him.

0:37:300:37:36

The soothing words from Mum and Dad have worked and Charlie is now ready

0:37:360:37:40

for his emergency flight.

0:37:400:37:42

His back and neck have been stabilised for the short journey to Pinderfields Hospital.

0:37:420:37:47

There's never much room for passengers in a Helimed chopper,

0:37:490:37:52

but to reassure Charlie, it's important that Dad Mark comes too.

0:37:520:37:56

< Are you OK?

0:37:580:38:00

-< You're OK.

-Yeah, I'm OK.

0:38:000:38:03

Charlie spent the night in hospital undergoing tests, scans and X-rays.

0:38:030:38:08

Amazingly, after his rooftop fall, he hadn't broken any bones.

0:38:080:38:11

With just a few bruises, the lucky Charlie was soon home enjoying the rest of his summer holidays.

0:38:110:38:18

I'm pleased to say all our patients are on the road to recovery.

0:38:180:38:22

Now, as any doctor will tell you, it's very difficult to predict how someone will recover,

0:38:220:38:28

especially in the first few minutes, following a critical illness or serious injury.

0:38:280:38:33

But sometimes, there's a surprise.

0:38:330:38:35

Do you mind just witnessing this?

0:38:350:38:37

A cliff edge on the east coast near Withernsea has been the scene of Helimed 98's latest rescue.

0:38:370:38:43

Louise Baker is a nurse who specialises in brain injuries,

0:38:430:38:47

but today she's the patient.

0:38:470:38:49

After falling off her horse,

0:38:490:38:51

Louise has sustained a serious head injury,

0:38:510:38:54

which has triggered a complete change of personality. She's had to be sedated to calm her down.

0:38:540:39:00

Hurting! You're hurting! Hurting!

0:39:000:39:03

We're not there to hurt you, we're here to help, OK?

0:39:030:39:06

As well as her head injury, paramedic Sammy Wills also thinks Louise has broken her neck.

0:39:060:39:12

The team are going to fly Louise to the Hull Royal Infirmary, the hospital where she works,

0:39:120:39:18

and where news has started to filter through that one of their colleagues has been seriously injured.

0:39:180:39:24

That's it, Louise. We'll get you nice and warm now.

0:39:240:39:27

Withernsea to Hull is a journey Louise does regularly to get to work.

0:39:270:39:31

It takes 45 minutes by road, but less than 10 by air.

0:39:310:39:35

Louise had come off her horse and had a massive head injury

0:39:350:39:39

and we believe that's why her personality changed so much.

0:39:390:39:42

But we couldn't confirm it until she was in hospital and had the CT scan.

0:39:420:39:46

In Hull, the doctors and nurses face a situation every medic dreads -

0:39:460:39:51

treating a friend and colleague.

0:39:510:39:54

And Louise's injuries are far more serious than anyone imagined.

0:39:540:39:58

She's immediately anaesthetised and admitted to Intensive Care.

0:39:580:40:02

It's one of the worst nightmares for any doctor to have

0:40:020:40:05

family, friends or colleagues come in as patients,

0:40:050:40:08

especially in a critical state.

0:40:080:40:10

I was shocked to hear that Louise was down in A&E.

0:40:100:40:13

It's also discovered Louise has fractured her neck.

0:40:130:40:16

And that can cause paralysis.

0:40:160:40:18

But after four days in Intensive Care, Louise wakes up, and just a few weeks later, she's back home.

0:40:210:40:27

My last memory is actually of sitting on the cliff top looking at the sea cos the tide was going out.

0:40:270:40:34

I don't remember anything after that at all.

0:40:340:40:38

But they've told me that I was completely uncooperative at the time.

0:40:380:40:43

and didn't believe anybody was trying to help me.

0:40:430:40:48

My friends at the stables have been ribbing me ever since.

0:40:480:40:52

Louise has to wear a collar for the next few weeks while her neck heals,

0:40:530:40:57

but that hasn't stopped her getting back to the stables,

0:40:570:41:01

and there's one other place Louise is desperate to visit.

0:41:010:41:04

Most patients are glad to see the back of hospital

0:41:040:41:08

after spending a few weeks laid up in bed.

0:41:080:41:11

But Louise has worked at Hull Royal for over ten years

0:41:110:41:14

and she's missed out on a lot of the nurses' gossip.

0:41:140:41:18

You can start changing the collar from now on then!

0:41:180:41:21

'I went to see her the following day, and obviously,'

0:41:210:41:24

this huge personality to be... ventilated and so, so poorly,

0:41:240:41:31

it's strange to see when somebody who you've worked with for such a long time,

0:41:310:41:36

who's looked after these really compromised patients,

0:41:360:41:40

to suddenly become one herself was just devastating to see, really.

0:41:400:41:44

News of Louise's swift recovery comes as a great relief to one of her rescuers.

0:41:440:41:49

Stop it!

0:41:490:41:51

And Sammy admits this was one of the most challenging jobs she's ever faced.

0:41:510:41:57

I believe she's making a very good recovery.

0:41:570:42:00

I've not met her, but reports are that she's even met up with her colleagues on the neuro ward too.

0:42:000:42:06

I can't imagine how embarrassing that would be.

0:42:060:42:09

When Helicopter Heroes comes back...

0:42:100:42:12

A teenage boy fights for his life after a road accident.

0:42:120:42:17

He's sustained a very serious injury to his head.

0:42:170:42:19

Only the Helimed team can save him.

0:42:190:42:22

Paramedic Darren's in a tight spot as he joins an injured driver trapped in his car.

0:42:230:42:28

Just gonna turn your car into a convertible.

0:42:280:42:30

A boy's badly hurt after a playground accident watched by his mum.

0:42:310:42:37

He was unconscious when I got to him.

0:42:370:42:39

And a daredevil day-tripper needs hospital treatment

0:42:390:42:43

after a mishap captured on video.

0:42:430:42:45

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:42:540:42:57

E-mail [email protected]

0:42:570:43:00

Rav Wilding presents a series looking at the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. A nurse becomes a difficult patient for the helimed team, there is a race to save a farm worker trapped in machinery and a pensioner's car careers half a mile down a hill-side.


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