Episode 18 Helicopter Heroes


Episode 18

A look at the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. A teenager fights for his life after a road accident and a man suffers from hypothermia after being trapped in a whirlpool.


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Transcript


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If you're critically ill or seriously injured in a place

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like this, 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 your rescue at four and a half 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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a teenage boy fights for his life after a road accident.

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

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Only the Helimed team can save him.

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Paramedic Darren's in a tight spot as he joins

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an injured driver trapped in his car.

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I'm just going to turn your car into a convertible for you.

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

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He was unconscious when I got to him.

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And a dare-devil day-tripper needs hospital treatment after a mishap captured on video.

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If you complain about your garage bill, spare a thought for the charity

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that keeps this thing in the air.

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Even a second-hand Explorer helicopter will set you back

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over £3 million, and an annual service

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will cost well into six figures.

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But for the patients, this machine is priceless.

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It's early evening at air ambulance headquarters,

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and paramedics Lee Gray and Tony Wilkes are nearing

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the end of a 12-hour shift responding to emergencies.

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But their last case tonight will test their life-saving

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skills to the limit.

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13-year-old Calum Parkinson

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has been hit by a car and is fighting for his life.

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Just to let you know, we've been looking at this knock-down

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you're going on. I wonder if you could just give us an update,

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see whether he might need to go to LGI.

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The crew of Helimed 99 are watching details coming in from the scene.

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Accidents don't come more serious than this.

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-He's sporadically fitting.

-Yeah, suspicion of a head injury,

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-so I think we'll just dispatch there.

-All right.

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Already pilot Pete Barnes is talking to air traffic control.

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..2,000 feet, one zero one zero.

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If Calum has been hit by the car, even at 30 miles an hour,

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there's a 50% chance he'll die.

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Dr Simon Ward and paramedic Lee Gray can only hope

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that they'll get there in time.

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If the parents are on scene, there'll be some grave concerns,

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especially if they've witnessed the child actually being knocked down,

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but obviously it's just a good consolation

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that they've got a doctor en route and obviously a helicopter

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to fly him direct to a treatment centre that is best suited to him.

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If it's a serious head injury, then he might require a general

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anaesthetic to help prevent any further damage to the brain.

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Right, there's a nice little patch just at the top where that big tree is.

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That looks fairly ideal for me.

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Dr Simon Ward and paramedic Tony know they don't have time

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to wait for pilot Pete Barnes to shut down the helicopter.

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Obviously, the incident's just round this bend, so there's potentially

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been a high speed knock-down... this particular stretch of road.

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Hiya, you all right?

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One of Calum's neighbours, Tony Sidcar, is an ambulance technician.

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He provided first aid and has been supporting Calum's head

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since the accident happened.

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The fluid seeping from Calum's nose and ears is the vital liquid that protects his brain.

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It's a big clue that the base of Calum's skull is fractured, and that's a life-threatening injury.

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This is a bad sign. Calum's having a seizure. The pace of treatment must now speed up.

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If Calum is to survive, he needs to be in hospital as soon as possible.

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..Yeah.

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Good man.

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The accident has happened outside Calum's house.

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In the crowd of people, his mum watches on, willing her son to keep breathing.

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Right, Calum, that's one new shirt I owe you.

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Dr Simon should be on a day off.

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Instead, he chooses to take his life-saving skills out of hospital

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in his spare time.

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This could make all the difference for Calum, as Simon is about

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to carry out a procedure that could save his young patient's life.

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I'm going to give him a general anaesthetic.

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He's got a head injury that's going to require him

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to be sedated for the flight, so I'm just getting that ready now.

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If Calum's head is as badly injured as Dr Simon fears,

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the damage to his brain will eventually stop him breathing.

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If the team don't intervene now and put Calum to sleep, he may not even

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survive the journey to hospital.

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Coming up, intensive care comes

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to Calum as another doctor arrives to help anaesthetise him in the street.

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He's fitting - that indicates a very significant injury

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going on inside his head.

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A playground accident could be much more serious than it appears.

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Keep your eyes open for me.

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And the team join the search for a swimmer feared drowned.

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She went in about 20 minutes ago. A little bit longer.

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Wearing a uniform for a living means you never have to put up

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with routine, but I can tell you that being a member of the emergency

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services also involves being put in some pretty risky situations.

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Four-wheel drives are made for going off-road,

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but one driver's unplanned detour

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off the motorway isn't exactly what the designers had in mind.

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Harjit Singh has crashed 100 yards through signs,

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fences and trees.

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Helimed 99 is on its way.

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We've got reports of a four-by- four that has left the motorway

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and rolled over into a field.

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We've had persons reported at the

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location, but we don't know at this time whether or not they're trapped.

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Looks like it's down there, doesn't it? Through those trees.

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-Yeah. And that field looks about as good as owt I've ever seen.

-Absolutely, yes, perfect.

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Put her down quickly.

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-Top corner of the field looks flattish to me, mate.

-Yeah, it does, yeah.

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An ambulance crew has already come to Harjit's aid.

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You're all clear left.

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-Hiya, lads, how are you going?

-He's bleeding but conscious.

-Yeah.

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-I'm just going to get collars. I think it's just a case of getting him out and...

-Fab.

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But before he gets to work, Darren spots a child's seat and toys that have been thrown from the car.

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-Has a child been thrown with them?

-That is a kid's seat up there.

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-You haven't had a young 'un in the car have you, mate?

-No.

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With that worry over, Darren can now concentrate on Mr Singh.

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Is it Archie, did you say?

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Harjit.

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Harjit. All right, mate, let's just have a look at your face, matey.

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All right, just put that back on.

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Have you got a big size four or five dressing?

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Well, at the moment, the fire service are trying to clear

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the area so they can get access to him and extricate him from the vehicle.

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Harjit has a 35cm cut

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that runs across his head and down onto his face.

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He's lost a lot of blood.

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It's just oxygen that,

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all right? Just to help you clear your head a little bit.

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-Can you remember everything that's happened to you? No?

-No.

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-Have you got any pain anywhere else other than your head?

-My shoulder, mate.

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-Your shoulder's hurting. What about your legs?

-I'm fine...

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-Right. No pain in your back?

-No, no.

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-No pain in your shins at all?

-No.

-Are you sure?

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I think if he's been in a normal family car, he'd be probably dead

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you know. So far he's got a head injury,

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he's still conscious and talking to us,

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he seems to have a shoulder injury and possibly some issues with his breathing.

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Right, that's coming off. I need to readjust myself a bit.

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As a former miner, Darren's used to working in tight spaces,

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but he's a big lad and getting around a crushed car to treat a patient isn't easy.

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At least fellow paramedic Al is nearby to lend his support.

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He's wrapped up in there. He's doing very well, actually.

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This pain you've got, matey, on a scale of one to ten, what is it?

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-If ten's the worst...?

-Seven.

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About a seven. It's your shoulder that's hurting you?

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-I've got some morphine in my pocket.

-Now, then...

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Right, what we've got, because we need to start...

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-taking your roof off and stuff...

-Yeah.

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-There's going to be a big shake.

-OK.

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We're going to put that over you to cover you basically.

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-There's a window in it so you can see what's going on.

-OK, mate.

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There's be somebody talking to you all the time to let you know exactly what's happening.

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The man who's going to do the talking is Darren,

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who has decided to stay with Harjit.

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Right, Harjit, what we're going to do now, mate, is we're going to take this roof off, right?

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I'm going to stay with you all the time.

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One of us will be with you and we won't leave you.

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All right? And we'll get you out of here then.

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Dazza's just at the moment just holding his head, making sure

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if he's got any possibility of a neck injury,

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he's keeping everything nice and stable and just keeping talking to him,

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because it can be quite frightening - you're under there under a sheet, and your car's

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being ripped to pieces around you by the fire brigade.

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You know, you can hear creaking and smashing and metal being cut

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and all sorts of noises.

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When you're already a bit disorientated from having been

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in a crash, it can be quite a frightening experience.

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Make sure you don't hit owt squishy, firefighter, won't you?

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Because it will be me.

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Coming up, Darren and his patient take cover

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as firefighters start cutting.

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I think you need a new car, buddy.

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A teenager's chances of survival

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are slim, but two doctors are determined to beat the odds.

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He has sustained a very serious injury to his head

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and he's deeply unconscious.

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And a man in danger of dying of cold on a summer's day.

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Everyone takes safety pretty seriously these days.

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Never mind steel toe-capped boots or high-vis vests - some firms

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even insist on a risk assessment just to use a desk.

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But no matter what you do, nothing can be made entirely safe.

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It's summer in Yorkshire and it's playtime for the county's

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half a million youngsters, but in a village near Barnsley, a mischievous

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11-year-old has taken a tumble from the top of this playhouse.

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It could be that a child perhaps took a bang on the head

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and had a moment's loss of consciousness.

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Helimed 98 is on the way.

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Five miles out. 3,000 feet.

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Houses to our left.

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The town to our right. And it should be on the nose.

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Paramedics Pete Vallance and James Vine know Keal Dimmock has fallen

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on his head, and that's serious, especially for a child.

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Hello, how are you today?

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Keal's mum Michelle is frantic.

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She saw it happen.

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He were just on top there, I come past in the car, and he were on top of what they call the birdcage.

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And I pulled up, peeped at him to get his attention, to tell him

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to get down and as he saw me, knew he shouldn't have been up there,

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and he tried to slide down and he just slid, he collapsed on...he fell and hit his...

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I think it were the left-hand side of his head and his arm, and his friend just shouted,

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"He's not breathing, he's not breathing."

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He was unconscious when I got to him. Just unconscious.

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Keal's condition seems stable and most of the friends who saw him fall

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think his injuries are minor, but Pete and James know better.

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-Can you lift this left arm for me, Keal?

-Can you lift your left arm?

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-I want to go to sleep!

-Good lad.

-You want to go to sleep?

-Ah...

-Tell me what hurt then.

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What hurt then, darling?

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As well as having medical skills, medics must be good actors.

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The Helimed team knows Keal's symptoms are potentially

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life-threatening, but they can't let him or his mum know that.

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How old is he, Mum?

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-He's 11.

-He's 11.

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Yeah, Lee, he's an 11-year-old male,

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fallen approximately ten foot off a bandstand onto his head.

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LOC approximately five minutes, witnessed by Mum.

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-You'll come with us?

-Oh, yeah.

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What's his name again?

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It's Keal. It's all right, darling.

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All right, mate, open your eyes.

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Doctors at Sheffield's Children's Hospital are on standby.

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Keal will be flown direct to their emergency unit.

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-Where's it hurting, Keal, is it that brace?

-Yeah...

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Yeah. Is it very, very bad?

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HE CRIES

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Keal... ..Well, put it this way, when he broke his arm, he never cried. In two places.

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Tough lad, is he?

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Unlike adults, children can deteriorate very quickly with few symptoms.

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Keal's sleepiness is worrying.

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It can be the sign of a major brain injury.

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Stick your tongue out for me again, Keal.

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Pop your tongue out.

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The arrival of Helimed 98 has caused a stir in the village.

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Hear that helicopter come in to land?

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Did you hear it?

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Keal?

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-No.

-You didn't hear it?

-No.

-I did.

-I think everybody else did as well!

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The village has come to have a look at it.

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Michelle will be travelling to hospital with her son.

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The presence of Mum can help calm younger patients,

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but Keal seems unaware of what's going on.

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Keal, are you all right, pal?

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Keep your eyes open for me.

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That's a good lad.

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It's a six-minute flight to the Children's Hospital,

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but longer than Pete and James would like.

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As the team prepare to land, Keal suffers a seizure and lapses into unconsciousness.

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-Just going to land opposite the hospital, and the doctors come out and meet us.

-Oh, right.

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We'll get him on a trolley and get him into Accident and Emergency.

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-Now we're going to go into the area where they assess them straightaway.

-Yeah.

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-There's going to be an awful lot of doctors and nurses.

-Yeah.

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It's nothing to worry about.

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This has become a race to save their patient.

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Keal. Keal.

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-Hiya, chaps, how are we doing?

-Hiya.

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'He dropped his conscious level and then had a large vomit

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'and then what we're thinking is probably a seizure,

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'which is sometimes normal with children with head injuries,'

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but obviously it tends to suggest that there might be

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a problem inside his head and that's what they're all looking

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for at the moment. His scans... he's been scanned down at hospital.

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But Keal had a surprise for his friends in the village

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of South Hiendley.

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After a week in hospital, he improved enough to come home,

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despite a head injury that could have been much more serious.

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I have actually been up there before, but I just jumped,

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but that time I just dangled and then fell.

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I weren't really thinking.

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He's not been allowed to play out, because obviously the neurosurgeon said it's going to take some healing,

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so he's obviously had a few weeks off school.

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He went back, but he's not allowed to play out,

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he's not allowed, he's supposed to be resting, basically.

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Can only have a few hours of PS3 a day, can't ya?

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Which he's not happy about! Took him for a CT scan,

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and it showed up a brain injury, but he survived, so we had loads

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of luck that day, definitely.

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Coming up, the fight to free a motorist trapped in his four-by-four reaches its climax.

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It's a good job you were in summat this big, else you would have been toast.

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And the man rescued from a whirlpool who now needs heat to stay alive.

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Now let's get back to the case of 13-year-old Calum, the teenager

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who's fighting for his life

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after a road accident near his home in West Yorkshire.

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It's a warm summer evening, but no-one on this street

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in Huddersfield in West Yorkshire is enjoying the weather.

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13-year-old Calum Parkinson has collided with a car as he crossed

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the road outside his house.

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Flying medics from Helimed 99 have arrived quickly,

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but Calum's head has hit the road so hard

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the team think he's fractured the base of his skull.

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This young boy has sustained quite a substantial head injury.

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Simon's just preparing now just to pop him to sleep and pop a tube

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in to control his breathing and keep his airway nice and clear.

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I'm just trying to organise now, just transportation to LGI,

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cos we'll need an ambulance at that end just to get us down to Casualty as well.

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Calum's a popular young man. A keen sportsman, he's in the local rugby team and loves going scuba diving.

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The street is packed with friends and family who've come out

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to see if they can help. Amongst them are Calum's mum and dad.

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Calum, you've got to relax, son. Come on.

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Calum, Calum, calm down, just relax, come on.

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But this man could be vital in the battle to save Calum's life.

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Dr Jez Pinnell is a consultant anaesthetist

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who flies with the Helimed team.

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He also happens to live nearby and has come to protect Calum's

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brain from the damage that often follows a road accident like this.

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-Normally he's a rugby player, healthy young lad.

-Yeah.

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Runs, cycles, everything.

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One of the healthiest young lads you could ever hope to meet.

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Dr Jez is just in time.

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There's a high risk that Calum will stop breathing at any moment.

0:18:500:18:54

Jez specialises in anaesthetics and will now take over putting Calum

0:18:540:18:59

to sleep outside his own front door.

0:18:590:19:01

There's a crew already at secondary, and I've spoken to LGI itself.

0:19:010:19:05

This is the critical moment.

0:19:050:19:09

A chemistry set of drugs will stop Calum's breathing.

0:19:090:19:12

Dr Jez then just has a few seconds to open his airway and insert a tube,

0:19:120:19:16

which allows the team to breathe for him.

0:19:160:19:21

He's a 12-year-old and he's being intubated by the doctor on scene at present.

0:19:210:19:24

He's a road traffic knock-down, obviously GCS3.

0:19:240:19:28

I'll ring through to LGI and let them know we're coming there -

0:19:280:19:32

if you can just organise a crew, like I said, for 30 minutes.

0:19:320:19:34

Jez would not perform this sort of high-risk intervention at the roadside unless it was vital.

0:19:340:19:41

Now hooked up to the monitoring equipment,

0:19:410:19:44

it's clear the procedure's been a success. By squeezing the bag,

0:19:440:19:48

Jez is performing the same action as Calum's lungs.

0:19:480:19:51

Yeah. Simon's going to give 'em an ETA for us going in of about 30.

0:19:510:19:57

We'll be 10 getting him settled and then 15 in, won't we?

0:19:570:20:01

Road accidents are the biggest cause of death in children under 15.

0:20:010:20:06

Last year nearly 4,000 children were killed or seriously injured,

0:20:060:20:10

but many of those youngsters will not have received such expert treatment.

0:20:100:20:13

I think his chances at the moment probably are not very good.

0:20:130:20:17

I think he's unlikely to survive and if he does,

0:20:170:20:21

he could well survive with significant disabilities.

0:20:210:20:25

Yeah, you're all clear here.

0:20:250:20:29

All clear, Pete.

0:20:290:20:30

Neurosurgeons at the Leeds General Infirmary are waiting for Helimed 99's arrival.

0:20:300:20:36

As the team leave Calum's familiar surroundings behind,

0:20:360:20:39

no-one knows whether he'll see them again.

0:20:390:20:41

Coming up, Calum survives to reach hospital, but how will his head injury affect him?

0:20:470:20:52

The signs at the scene now are not very good.

0:20:520:20:56

And a rope swing lands a day-tripper in a lot of pain.

0:20:560:21:00

HE GROANS

0:21:010:21:03

Now, putting three tons of helicopter down in an urban area

0:21:080:21:11

is never going to be easy, but the Helimed team's pilots

0:21:110:21:15

usually find somewhere to land.

0:21:150:21:18

Today Helimed 99 pilot Steve Cobb has managed to find a landing pad

0:21:180:21:22

right next to one of the busiest urban motorways in West Yorkshire,

0:21:220:21:26

and it's just as well for the team's badly injured patient.

0:21:260:21:29

He's come off the motorway,

0:21:290:21:32

through this field, somersaulted over this fence and hit that tree

0:21:320:21:36

and he's now trapped in the vehicle.

0:21:360:21:38

Harjit Singh's been lucky to survive a high-speed crash on the M62 motorway.

0:21:380:21:43

He's trapped in the wreckage of his four-wheel-drive car with serious injuries.

0:21:430:21:47

I'm just going to pop this glass on the side - are you, OK?

0:21:470:21:50

All right.

0:21:500:21:51

There's going to be a loud bang, mate.

0:21:510:21:54

Thank you.

0:21:540:21:56

Now Harjit and flying paramedic Darren Axe must wait as firefighters

0:21:560:22:00

cut his car apart to free him.

0:22:000:22:03

WHIRRING

0:22:030:22:06

Darren and his patient are covered by a safety blanket

0:22:060:22:09

and can't see much, but they can hear what's going on.

0:22:090:22:13

Darren's a former miner,

0:22:150:22:17

well-used to confined spaces, and he knows this is a risky situation.

0:22:170:22:21

Falling trees, debris from cutting equipment and fire

0:22:210:22:24

are all potential hazards, but keeping Harjit cheerful is part of his job.

0:22:240:22:31

Just relax, mate, it's nowt to worry about.

0:22:310:22:33

We're just going to turn your car into a convertible for you(!) Did you want a convertible?

0:22:330:22:38

Yeah, why not?!

0:22:380:22:41

Darren's a car nut with a high-powered Nissan sports car on his drive. He feels for Harjit.

0:22:410:22:48

I think you need a new car, buddy.

0:22:480:22:51

It's a good job you were in summat this big, else you would have been toast.

0:22:510:22:57

Harjit has a bad head wound, his shoulder hurts and he could

0:22:580:23:02

have a serious back injury, but his car's in worse shape.

0:23:020:23:06

Firefighters are slowly taking apart Harjit's Toyota Land Cruiser.

0:23:060:23:10

Its strength probably saved his life,

0:23:100:23:13

but now its steel construction is making hard work for his rescuers.

0:23:130:23:18

Sound job, mate, sound.

0:23:180:23:21

At last they're ready to move their patient.

0:23:210:23:23

-Are you ready then, lads?

-Yeah, I'm ready.

0:23:230:23:25

As he comes up, we're going to have to angle it a bit more. OK.

0:23:250:23:29

-Ready?

-Yes.

-Your call.

0:23:290:23:32

Ready, steady...

0:23:330:23:34

OK.

0:23:340:23:36

Keep your arm in, Harjit.

0:23:360:23:39

We've had to create a path up to the field at the back where the helicopter is,

0:23:390:23:44

so once we're out, then it's just a case of carrying him

0:23:440:23:48

up onto the helicopter and then away to a hospital.

0:23:480:23:51

Harjit's not a small man and he takes a lot of lifting,

0:23:510:23:55

but the fire service know how to make light work of jobs like this.

0:23:550:23:59

Bring him feet first and keep him nice and high until he's right here.

0:23:590:24:02

Once their patient's inside the chopper, the team have all their

0:24:020:24:06

medical kit at arm's reach.

0:24:060:24:08

But for Darren there's another reason for relief this job's nearly over.

0:24:080:24:13

It were a bit awkward, but sometimes you've just

0:24:130:24:16

got to be prepared to put yourself in that position, and I'm sure anyone

0:24:160:24:20

of us that were there would have done exactly the same,

0:24:200:24:23

so you've got to do what's right for the patient at end of the day.

0:24:230:24:26

Sometimes it's not always textbook,

0:24:260:24:29

but you've got a casualty to retrieve and you need to get on with it.

0:24:290:24:33

A trauma team are already waiting at Leeds General Infirmary.

0:24:330:24:36

It's less than 15 minutes since Harjit was freed from his car -

0:24:360:24:39

now he's about to get the medical treatment he desperately needs.

0:24:390:24:45

Hello.

0:24:450:24:47

He's got quite a nasty head injury, it's quite a big open

0:24:470:24:51

wound to his head, and head injuries are always a concern,

0:24:510:24:53

especially when you've been unconscious, and this gentleman was knocked out initially.

0:24:530:24:57

So that's always a cause of concern.

0:24:570:25:00

He's also got some injuries to his right side.

0:25:000:25:02

His shoulder looks to be quite badly

0:25:020:25:04

damaged and also possibly some right-side chest injuries.

0:25:040:25:07

As Al feared, Harjit had broken his shoulder.

0:25:070:25:10

He also has a back injury that will require steel pins. By the time

0:25:100:25:15

he's released from hospital, he'll have had three separate operations.

0:25:150:25:20

Coming up,

0:25:240:25:25

13-year-old Calum's family wait for news on their son's condition.

0:25:250:25:29

I could straightaway see that it was serious, cos I saw the blood from his nose,

0:25:290:25:33

blood from his ears, he was frothing at the mouth.

0:25:330:25:36

You're never far from water in Yorkshire and if, like me, you love

0:25:400:25:44

canoeing, then the river is a great place to get out and enjoy yourself.

0:25:440:25:49

But for an unlucky few, a lack of experience

0:25:490:25:54

and a bit of sheer bad luck poses a lethal combination.

0:25:540:25:59

Water created the Yorkshire Dales.

0:26:020:26:04

Over millions of years, it carved these valleys out of solid limestone.

0:26:040:26:09

It's a landscape big enough to lose a town in, never mind a helicopter,

0:26:090:26:13

but sometimes visitors forget the power of nature.

0:26:130:26:17

Today near Ingleton, a party has got into trouble canyoning,

0:26:170:26:22

riding white water with little protection other than a lifejacket

0:26:220:26:25

and helmet.

0:26:250:26:27

It's not a hobby for paramedic Darren Axe.

0:26:300:26:33

He prefers swimming in a heated pool.

0:26:330:26:36

It's an unusual one, this one. We've been called out to

0:26:360:26:40

Beezley Falls, just north of Ingleton.

0:26:400:26:43

There's reports of a child in the water there who's unable

0:26:430:26:46

to make it back to the bank.

0:26:460:26:48

Cave rescue have been deployed to it as well, so we're going to go up there

0:26:480:26:52

and see what we can do to assist them. Hopefully the water's not too deep.

0:26:520:26:57

This is a difficult rescue.

0:26:570:26:59

Volunteers from the local cave rescue team

0:26:590:27:01

are battling to save two men who became trapped in a whirlpool.

0:27:010:27:06

-Down here at three o'clock, gentlemen.

-Yeah.

0:27:060:27:09

They've been in the water for nearly an hour, and now one is seriously ill with hypothermia.

0:27:090:27:14

It's quite a torrent, quite vigorous. Glad I'M not in it.

0:27:140:27:18

But they're still trapped out of sight on a rocky ledge inches above the water.

0:27:180:27:23

There's one of these lads that's in quite a bad way, so he's probably the one for us.

0:27:230:27:28

So that'll be the one we take.

0:27:280:27:32

Paramedic Al Day is used to this kind of incident.

0:27:320:27:35

He's a member of his local mountain rescue team,

0:27:350:27:38

but all he and Darren can do is wait until their patient is brought up the steep bank.

0:27:380:27:42

It's too dangerous to venture down to the water.

0:27:420:27:45

Patients with hypothermia deteriorate very quickly, so the priority is get

0:27:450:27:50

him up to the top, get him warmed up and get him off to hospital.

0:27:500:27:54

Finally the man is hauled up to the medical team.

0:27:540:27:58

His body temperature is dangerously low - his soaking wet

0:27:580:28:02

clothes and a Pennine wind are making things even worse.

0:28:020:28:05

His life is in real danger.

0:28:050:28:08

-Open your eyes, chief. Where's that oxygen we asked to be put on him?

-It's here.

0:28:080:28:11

It's here, mate, it's down here.

0:28:110:28:14

The Helimed team have an unusual treatment for extreme cold.

0:28:140:28:18

Yeah. Fingers. Fingers. Fingers.

0:28:180:28:20

It's called the pizza bag -

0:28:200:28:23

a thickly insulated sleeping bag that quickly warms the body...

0:28:230:28:27

-Can we not just pick him up and just go?

-Yes.

0:28:270:28:29

..and instantly turns into a stretcher.

0:28:290:28:31

The man's vital signs are dropping.

0:28:330:28:36

His core temperature has plunged to just 30 degrees.

0:28:360:28:39

37 is normal, and a drop of 2 degrees can do harm.

0:28:390:28:44

Hey up, mate, open your eyes.

0:28:440:28:46

He'll be warmed from the inside as well - the team are dripping warm

0:28:460:28:49

fluid directly into his bloodstream.

0:28:490:28:52

We're taking this casualty to Lancaster - it's about

0:28:520:28:56

seven minutes flying time, it's the closest hospital

0:28:560:28:58

for us, so that's best for him. He's quite hypothermic

0:28:580:29:00

and we need to get him warmed up and move quickly.

0:29:000:29:03

There's nothing more Darren and Al can do.

0:29:030:29:05

Temperature levels of the body are more critical than people appreciate,

0:29:050:29:10

and a 6-degree shift is enough

0:29:100:29:12

to make you unconscious, and you'll go into a coma and you may not recover.

0:29:120:29:16

He needs to be in a resus department

0:29:160:29:19

where they'll have specialist equipment to reheat him at a set speed,

0:29:190:29:24

and the fastest way to get there is on this aircraft.

0:29:240:29:27

The man was taken to hospital in Lancaster and recovered,

0:29:270:29:31

but for the local cave rescue team, this was a close call

0:29:310:29:35

and an example why rivers should be treated with greater respect.

0:29:350:29:39

We're all for having adventures.

0:29:390:29:42

What they'd neglected to find out was the local conditions

0:29:420:29:45

and the fact that it had rained recently and the river was higher

0:29:450:29:49

than they'd anticipated.

0:29:490:29:50

Members of the public were able to initially throw some ropes out

0:29:500:29:54

and improvise a rescue attempt to pull at least one of them to safety.

0:29:540:29:59

If they'd been in a really isolated spot, those two could have drowned, there's no doubt about it.

0:29:590:30:05

They couldn't get out of the current and their strength would have

0:30:050:30:08

run out eventually, they'd have gone underwater.

0:30:080:30:10

'Despite its dangers, water has an attraction few of us can resist.

0:30:120:30:16

'In the Yorkshire Dales, a river view can add 20% to the value of a house,

0:30:160:30:20

'and some of us like to do more than just look.'

0:30:200:30:25

Looks gorgeous, doesn't it?

0:30:250:30:26

But you've got to remember at the bottom of most rivers

0:30:260:30:28

like this are rocks, and when you hit them, it hurts.

0:30:280:30:34

The temperature's in the mid-80s, and the sun's beating down, so what better

0:30:340:30:38

than a cooling dip in a local river?

0:30:380:30:41

Now, that's exactly what 18-year-old Matthew Tighe

0:30:410:30:43

and his mates thought when this happened.

0:30:430:30:46

One of Matthew's friends is filming on his mobile phone.

0:30:490:30:52

Matthew's fallen over ten feet

0:30:520:30:55

and landed face down in part of the river that's only a few feet deep.

0:30:550:30:59

He's unconscious, and if his friends don't get him out of the river soon,

0:30:590:31:03

he'll drown.

0:31:030:31:04

Yeah, Roger, possible head injury,

0:31:040:31:08

banged his head on a rock in water.

0:31:080:31:11

The mobile phone used to film Matthew's fall is now used

0:31:110:31:15

to call 999 and trigger the emergency response, which includes Helimed 98.

0:31:150:31:20

Like thousands of day-trippers, they're heading for the Yorkshire Dales.

0:31:200:31:25

They'll be at Matthew's side in just ten minutes.

0:31:250:31:27

We're just heading out to the waterfalls,

0:31:270:31:30

just north of Settle, for somebody who's slipped

0:31:300:31:32

on the rocks and banged their head, and I'm not too sure whether they've fallen

0:31:320:31:37

into the waterfall or not, it's a possibility.

0:31:370:31:40

There's over 100,000 miles of rivers meandering across the country and some of the most

0:31:400:31:45

picturesque and powerful can be found in Yorkshire.

0:31:450:31:50

They've been used for hundreds of years for fishing and boating,

0:31:500:31:53

but these days there's a growing number of dare-devils who see rivers

0:31:530:31:56

as a playground.

0:31:560:31:58

It's a glorious sunny afternoon,

0:31:580:32:00

so we've got a lot of people out walking up in the Dales.

0:32:000:32:03

You know, we get quite a lot of calls in this area for walkers

0:32:030:32:08

and people who fall - RTCs - so currently this is a normal job.

0:32:080:32:13

Someone has apparently jumped into a...

0:32:130:32:18

jumped on a rope swing and landed at the side of a wall,

0:32:180:32:20

so we don't know the extent of the injuries.

0:32:200:32:25

As Matthew's found out, using the river

0:32:250:32:27

as a playground can be dangerous.

0:32:270:32:30

Nearly 200 people die every year after accidents on our rivers.

0:32:300:32:34

Can't see any waterfall.

0:32:340:32:36

It's down there approximately three o'clock.

0:32:360:32:40

I'll stick us down by the ambulance

0:32:400:32:44

and then if we need to reposition, we can sort it out.

0:32:440:32:47

The team have dropped in next to Stainforth Force,

0:32:470:32:50

a well-known beauty spot a mile from the market town of Settle.

0:32:500:32:54

Matthew's mates have dragged him out of the water and ground power medics

0:32:540:32:58

have managed to move him to safety, but he's in a bad way.

0:32:580:33:02

Try and relax, try and relax onto the board.

0:33:020:33:06

Ah! Ah!

0:33:060:33:09

He's broken his leg, lost many of his front teeth

0:33:090:33:13

and could have caused some serious damage to his neck and spine.

0:33:130:33:17

The narrow Dales roads are notorious, and today

0:33:170:33:21

thousands of visitors will be clogging them up on their way home.

0:33:210:33:24

Matthew needs hospital treatment quickly,

0:33:240:33:27

and there's only one way he's going to get it.

0:33:270:33:29

We'll go to Lancaster with him.

0:33:290:33:32

On the landing... It's like that, so it's a nightmare.

0:33:320:33:36

Shall we get him back in the helicopter and we'll do it all up there?

0:33:360:33:40

Just get him out the way. ..Yeah, cheers, Bob.

0:33:400:33:42

For the local ambulance crew, it's a familiar story.

0:33:420:33:45

Hot days and rivers and things, we do get quite a lot at Ingleton

0:33:450:33:49

with the waterfall walks and things which I'm sure

0:33:490:33:51

you'll have been and seen before.

0:33:510:33:53

We do go there on summer days when it's busy, just general tourists

0:33:530:33:58

jumping in and enjoying the weather.

0:33:580:34:01

But for the next few days,

0:34:010:34:03

Matthew's going to be enjoying hospital food rather than the sunny weather.

0:34:030:34:07

Hiya, mate. I'm Clare, one of the nurses.

0:34:070:34:09

You're at Lancaster now, all right?

0:34:090:34:11

A couple of weeks later, Matthew's hobbling around nursing a knee that's been broken in three places.

0:34:110:34:18

It turns out he was never really that confident about taking

0:34:180:34:22

on a waterfall with a rope swing.

0:34:220:34:24

Everyone were having a go, so you do really - don't you? -

0:34:240:34:27

think I'll have a go. I didn't think anything would happen to me.

0:34:270:34:31

But at the start of the day,

0:34:310:34:32

I said to everyone, I'm injury prone,

0:34:320:34:34

something's going to happen today. And it did.

0:34:340:34:37

And Matthew's grateful to one member of the Helimed 98 crew

0:34:370:34:41

in particular, for looking after him once the worst had happened.

0:34:410:34:44

The woman who were sitting with me, she were nice,

0:34:440:34:47

because I was a bit nervous taking off, so she grabbed my hand

0:34:470:34:50

and reassured me that I were going to be all right, because it's loud when you take off.

0:34:500:34:54

And she kept turning to me nearly every minute saying, "Are you all right?"

0:34:540:34:59

I were pretty nervous, because I didn't know what I'd done.

0:34:590:35:02

Matthew says he's learned his lesson and his rope swinging days are over.

0:35:020:35:08

On a hot day a dip in cool water

0:35:080:35:10

can be hard to resist, especially for youngsters.

0:35:100:35:14

But every year the Helimed team find themselves dealing with a tragedy

0:35:140:35:18

that could so easily have been avoided.

0:35:180:35:21

It's another hot day and in a flooded quarry in Derbyshire,

0:35:230:35:26

a 15-year-old boy has vanished beneath the surface.

0:35:260:35:30

His friends have tried desperately to find him

0:35:310:35:34

but he's lost in the murky water.

0:35:340:35:37

Helimed 98 is on its way.

0:35:370:35:40

Believe that there's someone there possibly drowned

0:35:400:35:43

and is possibly in cardiac arrest. The information is quite sketchy.

0:35:430:35:48

Just do once more round the lake, see if you can see anything,

0:35:480:35:51

because it looks like they're still looking for him, Tim.

0:35:510:35:54

See if we can see any shadows in the water.

0:35:540:35:57

But there's no sign of the teenager.

0:35:570:35:59

After landing, paramedic James Vine races to the water.

0:35:590:36:03

Have you got him out yet?

0:36:030:36:05

Found him?

0:36:050:36:06

Get yours coming over and see if you can see any shadows.

0:36:080:36:12

The police helicopter continues the search from the air

0:36:120:36:15

as James gets an update on the ground.

0:36:150:36:18

-We've got a youth confirmed under the water...

-Yeah.

0:36:180:36:21

-He went in about 20 minutes ago.

-OK.

-Could be a little bit longer.

0:36:210:36:24

-Yeah.

-Didn't come up. Mates have been searching for him since.

0:36:240:36:28

Medical kit is prepared in the hope

0:36:280:36:30

that the teenager will be brought out alive.

0:36:300:36:32

Helimed paramedic Pete Valance believes he has a chance.

0:36:320:36:35

The fact that it's very cold water

0:36:350:36:38

and he's a young chap of about 16 years old

0:36:380:36:40

means that, you know, there is a chance

0:36:400:36:44

even after all this time under water

0:36:440:36:46

that he may be successfully resuscitated.

0:36:460:36:49

But obviously the longer it takes the less chance there is of that being a success.

0:36:490:36:54

When we come out, boys, we'll meet you at the edge with the spinal board.

0:36:540:36:59

-We'll come out feet first, head down.

-OK.

0:36:590:37:02

Fire & Rescue take to the water.

0:37:050:37:07

Visibility is poor so they use a thermal imaging camera

0:37:070:37:10

to search for the missing boy's body heat.

0:37:100:37:13

I think 60 minutes, we've got to be thinking...

0:37:160:37:19

I don't know. How cold is it?

0:37:190:37:21

But time's moving on and the boy's still missing.

0:37:210:37:25

It's frustrating for James, who's worked as a lifeguard in the past.

0:37:250:37:29

He'd like to get in the water, but it's too dangerous.

0:37:290:37:32

It's tough for Pete, too, who has a son of his own

0:37:320:37:36

the same age as the teenager.

0:37:360:37:38

It's frustrating for everybody here.

0:37:380:37:40

Obviously the fire service, the police were in attendance,

0:37:400:37:43

as were the ambulance crews very early on in the incident.

0:37:430:37:46

They weren't able to gain access to the water.

0:37:460:37:49

His friends have been in there searching for him as well.

0:37:490:37:52

They weren't able to locate him so yeah, it's a mixture of frustration

0:37:520:37:56

and wanting to be able to give him a chance

0:37:560:38:00

but unfortunately that's not occurred.

0:38:000:38:03

More than an hour has passed since Helimed 98 landed

0:38:030:38:06

and time has run out for the missing boy.

0:38:060:38:09

Even if he's found now, it's too late for Pete and James to help.

0:38:090:38:13

Now, let's hope we can reduce the number of accidents like that.

0:38:160:38:20

Now, when we last saw 13-year-old Calum Parkinson

0:38:200:38:24

he was deeply unconscious

0:38:240:38:25

with serious head injuries after an accident near his home.

0:38:250:38:29

Calum was knocked down by a car as he ran across the road.

0:38:290:38:33

Now he's on his way to emergency surgery at Leeds General Infirmary,

0:38:330:38:37

20 miles away.

0:38:370:38:39

Keep clear of those wires behind the houses.

0:38:390:38:41

OK, lovely, thanks.

0:38:410:38:43

The team have put Calum to sleep at the roadside to ensure

0:38:430:38:46

he survives the flight to hospital,

0:38:460:38:48

but only a brain scan will reveal if he will make a full recovery.

0:38:480:38:51

It maintains the patient's airway. So at the minute

0:38:530:38:57

he's being ventilated,

0:38:570:39:00

we're just monitoring his blood oxygen saturation levels,

0:39:000:39:03

make sure he's getting enough oxygen.

0:39:030:39:06

'Helimed 99 just lifting off from site down at Huddersfield

0:39:060:39:10

'and routing direct to Woodhouse, the secondary landing site for the LGI.'

0:39:100:39:15

Pilot Pete Barnes flew stunts for the Bond movie Die Another Day.

0:39:170:39:20

But this drama is real

0:39:200:39:22

and his flying skills are crucial to Calum's survival.

0:39:220:39:25

Time's against him and the Leeds General Infirmary rooftop helipad

0:39:250:39:30

is already closed for the night.

0:39:300:39:32

The last leg of the trip must be by road.

0:39:320:39:36

Just have a feel of his radial pulse for me, Tone, see what it feels like.

0:39:360:39:41

It is weak.

0:39:410:39:44

But as they land, Calum's condition deteriorates.

0:39:440:39:47

They need to get him to hospital as fast as they can.

0:39:470:39:50

His young body is struggling to cope with the build-up of pressure inside his brain.

0:39:500:39:55

Paramedics are not usually short of a word or two,

0:39:590:40:02

but the team know how serious this case is.

0:40:020:40:06

Fortunately they are just moments away from handing Calum over

0:40:060:40:09

to some of the country's leading brain injury experts.

0:40:090:40:12

Head injuries vary so much.

0:40:120:40:15

The fact that he's so unconscious now and the signs that we're seeing

0:40:150:40:19

really shows that he's probably got a very severe head injury

0:40:190:40:22

but until he's got to hospital, he's had a scan of his head,

0:40:220:40:26

it's difficult to say.

0:40:260:40:28

But certainly the signs that we're seeing now are not very good.

0:40:280:40:31

For Calum's mum Christine, this is the start of a month

0:40:310:40:34

in which she'll rarely leave Leeds General Infirmary.

0:40:340:40:38

Calum undergoes emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain.

0:40:380:40:42

Two parts of his skull are removed.

0:40:420:40:44

Well, when we first got the knock on the door I kind of thought,

0:40:440:40:48

"No, this isn't right,"

0:40:480:40:49

and then when I went out to the scene of the accident

0:40:490:40:52

I could straight away see that it was serious because I saw the blood from his nose, the blood from his ears,

0:40:520:40:57

he was frothing at the mouth and he was fitting.

0:40:570:40:59

As soon as he arrived here he was straight into surgery

0:40:590:41:03

and we just had to wait in the waiting room

0:41:030:41:06

and I just remember we were just staring into space,

0:41:060:41:10

we weren't talking and we didn't know if he was going to make it or not,

0:41:100:41:14

so that was a really hard time for everybody.

0:41:140:41:16

But finally Calum started to make progress.

0:41:160:41:19

It's hard to know whether Calum will make a full recovery

0:41:190:41:23

and he faces a long and gruelling time ahead.

0:41:230:41:26

But the early signs are promising.

0:41:260:41:28

He's started moving his left side quite good.

0:41:280:41:34

His right side, his leg, has now started moving,

0:41:340:41:37

but what I've noticed most is his personality.

0:41:370:41:40

Um, it's like he's got his little cheeky ways, he smiles.

0:41:400:41:45

One thing he does do, always before he used to touch one side of his face

0:41:450:41:48

and then the other and he always used to say that he could never touch this side without touching this side

0:41:480:41:54

and now we see him in the hospital getting better

0:41:540:41:56

and he goes like this and then he goes like this,

0:41:560:41:58

so that's really good, that's definitely Calum.

0:41:580:42:01

Judging by the number of get well cards he's received,

0:42:010:42:04

Calum will never be short of visitors.

0:42:040:42:06

All his friends and family want to thank the medical team

0:42:060:42:10

whose treatment at the roadside undoubtedly saved his life.

0:42:100:42:13

Fantastic!

0:42:130:42:16

When Helicopter Heroes comes back, the team fly to the rescue of a man

0:42:160:42:21

who's fallen 60 feet then been crushed by his own quad bike.

0:42:210:42:25

The pain's in his hips, we can't get his legs straight.

0:42:250:42:28

A teenager's back is broken. Will he walk again?

0:42:280:42:32

I was just saying to him, "I'm going to die, I'm going to die."

0:42:320:42:36

This motorist shouldn't be moved

0:42:360:42:39

but her car could be about to catch fire.

0:42:390:42:41

And high in the hills a mountain biker has banged his head,

0:42:420:42:45

but he's not lost his sense of humour.

0:42:450:42:48

I feel like a new man, so does me wife.

0:42:480:42:50

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:42:590:43:02

Rav Wilding presents a series looking at the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

A teenager fights for his life after a road accident, there is a nasty accident in a playground and the team are called to save a man suffering from hypothermia after being trapped in a whirlpool.


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