Episode 2 Helicopter Heroes


Episode 2

Rav Wilding looks at the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. A girl is knocked down on her way home from school and a pilot touches down at a garage to rescue an injured mechanic.


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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 your rescue at two-and-a-half miles a minute.

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These are Yorkshire's helicopter heroes.

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When the people of England'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, a little girl's knocked down on the way home from school.

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-Daddy.

-Your daddy's here.

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Look at the helicopter.

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It's a big yellow one.

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There's a freak accident in a garage and a mechanic needs help.

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He's fallen face down. He's complaining of facial and chest injuries.

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-This man's having a heart attack and the team face a fight for his life in midair.

-OK, mate.

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Just bear with it, a couple of minutes.

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-All right?

-Yeah.

-Not too tight?

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And I'm on the wrong end of a mountain rescue high in the Peak District.

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When you're a paramedic, every job you deal with is potentially a matter of life and death.

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Of course, not all cases are that serious, but when a car hits a child

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the Helimed team know that their skills are going to be critical.

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There's been a road accident in the village of Carthorpe in North Yorkshire.

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A six-year-old female has been knocked down by a car.

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She's got an open fracture of her lower leg.

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Helimed 99 is on the case.

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The crew know that cases involving children can be difficult.

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They've a different toleration to pain.

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Being a five-year-old, he's probably more aware of what's going on,

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but sometimes they're not aware that, you know,

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you might have to put a needle in their arm and it's going to hurt.

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And small children in great pain aren't able to describe their injuries.

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The paramedics must get their diagnosis absolutely right, as Paul Bradbury knows only too well.

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Yeah, it's all... It all depends on how fast the car's travelling,

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whereabouts on the body the child's been hit.

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The thing is with children, they tend to "go off" rather quickly, so one minute

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they can be fine and talking to us

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and the next minute, they can be going downhill quite quickly.

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Little Emma Baines was walking home from school with her mum when she ran into the road. She's badly hurt.

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Her mum, Lindsey, dialled 999 and a ground ambulance crew was quickly on the scene, but they had it easy.

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Pilot Andy Figg has to find a place to put down

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three tonnes of helicopter in the heart of the village.

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Just going over the trees now. I'll just keep an eye on watching the gardens and the houses.

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Keep a good look out for small wires, please.

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Even a phone line can spell disaster for Helimed 99, so Paul's taking no chances with the lookout.

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The accident happened outside the family's home.

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Their back garden just isn't big enough to be a helipad.

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-I'm happy this side, Simon, if you are.

-I'm happy this side.

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But there's a field beyond it that might just do the trick.

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The trouble is, it's surrounded by trees.

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Coming into this next field. Happy with that? Wires on the left-hand side of it.

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Andy flew Lynx assault helicopters for the Army before taking this job.

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Now his flying skills are being used to save lives if he can only get the Helimed crew down.

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At last, he's done it.

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Emma's dad was working from home when he heard a scream.

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-I was just inside and they were going off to the school run and she had her by the hand.

-Right.

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And for whatever reason, kids are kids, she suddenly pulled and ran out and there was a car just drove past.

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A typical scenario. A kid steps out between two cars.

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His daughter's an hour from hospital by road.

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It's time that could be more critical than the crew realised.

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Hello! Don't cry. You'll get me going.

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Are you all right? Is it Emma?

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Do you want to go and have a fly in a helicopter with your mummy, eh?

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The passing car was only travelling slowly, less than 20 miles an hour.

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-She ran out the front.

-She's come that side or...? Yeah?

-Yeah.

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So, she was running out and you've caught her.

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-Yeah.

-That's round the bumper? Yeah.

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The damage to the vehicle and the account of the shocked driver

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could give Paul vital clues to Emma's injuries and how best to treat them.

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What happened to the little girl? Did she go onto the ground and then...?

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-Yes.

-Yeah. Did she stay there till the ambulance came, or...?

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-No, the mother's came and...

-Took her in.

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-Took her and put her onto the floor over there, yeah.

-Are you all right?

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-Yeah.

-Other than shook up. All right.

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Emma? Emma, can you do me a favour? Can you wiggle your toes for me?

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-Can you move these toes?

-Can you wiggle them?

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-No.

-Does that hurt too much?

-Yeah. All right.

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The impact has smashed Emma's leg so badly, part of her tibia, the main bone in her lower leg, is missing.

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Surgeons will have to reconstruct her leg,

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and the sooner that happens, the better her outlook will be.

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Coming up, only speed and a surgeon can save little Emma's leg.

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That much bone has shattered and come out. Hopefully,

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they can reattach the bone back to the leg.

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The team land on a village green to rescue a heart patient,

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and up in the Peak District, there's a high altitude emergency.

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-All right, we need somewhere to land.

-OK, just to the left, mate.

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Now, some jobs are more dangerous than others.

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When I was a copper, I used to have one, and these guys do too, but sometimes, danger lurks

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in the most seemingly innocent of workplaces, especially when it involves a hole in the ground.

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Helimed 99 is touching down almost as soon as it's taken off today, less than a mile from its base.

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In his dad's garage, 19-year-old Matthew Duffield has fallen

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head-first into a six foot deep MOT inspection pit.

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He's not moved since the accident happened.

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Face down, facial injuries, query fractured legs.

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Paramedics Pat Greakin and Sammy Wills are trained to deal with all-sorts of situations,

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but this job is going to put all their skills and years of experience to the test.

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-This is Matthew.

-Hello, Matthew.

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-He's fallen from above there, broken his fall with his hands and hit his head.

-Yeah, yeah.

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-He's complaining of pain in the left side of his head.

-Yeah.

-Pain in his chest.

-Yeah.

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-Hip pain, around his pelvic area.

-Yeah.

-And pain to his left leg.

-Yeah.

-And right arm, here in this area.

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Falls like this are serious and over 50 people died last year after falling while at work.

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Matthew's landed on his head, but a potential head injury

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is not the only reason why Sammy looks concerned.

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She's worried Matthew could also have damaged his neck and spine.

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-Can you feel me touching?

-Yeah.

-Whereabouts am I?

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-Over towards my ankles.

-Yeah. Both legs.

-Yeah.

-Have you got any pain in your legs at all?

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Just where I've grazed my leg.

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-OK. You haven't got any pins and needles?

-In my hand, my hand here.

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-OK.

-Which I'm leaning on.

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Matthew's dad, David, saw his son fall and is understandably distressed.

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He's taken all the right safety precautions to prevent accidents like this happening,

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but all he can do now is wait to hear the full extent of his son's injuries.

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-So, it's you chest that hurts most.

-I smashed my face.

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-Do you know if he was knocked out at all?

-No, apparently not.

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-If you take a deep breath, does that hurt?

-Yeah.

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He's fallen face down.

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He's complaining of facial and chest injuries, and we're not too sure

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about his legs, whether he's broken his legs or not.

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It's difficult to get into him because he's right up against the back wall,

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so we're going to see if we can get him a little bit more stable, a little bit more comfortable,

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then have a check of him and make sure there's no serious injuries.

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I'm going to pop this collar around your neck, Matthew.

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Try not to move your head. Just let me control it.

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The narrow pit is a less than ideal place to examine a patient, but paramedics Sammy and Pat

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must now work out how they're going to move Matthew without making his injuries any worse.

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Can you get the board down here as we walk him along it? That might work really well.

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-Walk him along it?

-If we slide him along.

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Yeah, slide him on the board.

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Keep sucking on that, Matthew, because it wears off

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and it takes a little while for it to work properly as well.

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Now, then, I've got the fire service on their so they can help us lift you out of here, all right?

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-Because that's my other challenge.

-How you doing, mate?

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Sammy and Pat are more used to using the skills of the Fire Brigade

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to prise patients from their wrecked cars,

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but getting Matthew out safely is going to be a more delicate operation.

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What we're going to try and do is put the board here

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and slowly lift him as he is onto the board, then try and do a complete 180 onto the board.

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One of the first skills you learn as a paramedic is the importance of immobilisation.

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Even small movements to an injured neck or spine can cause more damage

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and, in the worst cases, can cause paralysis.

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Matthew is still lying face down on the hard concrete floor, but the time has come to move him.

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The seriousness of Mathew's injuries and the length of his recovery will all depend on what the team do next.

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One, two, three, lift.

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Coming up, the mechanic's rescue starts and there's a problem.

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-I'm scared of needles.

-Are you scared of needles?

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-Yeah.

-It's OK. We're not going to put a needle in you just yet.

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Five-year-old Emma could lose her leg and her parents know it.

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How long can they keep a brave face?

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Would you trust your life to a few pieces of rope? I'm not sure I do.

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The chap's been climbing, come off the route here.

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When you live in a city,

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you may think the UK is wall-to-wall concrete, but it's not.

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When you see it from up here, you realise we live in a pretty green country.

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You don't have to be far off the beaten track for a relatively minor emergency

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to turn into something more complicated and potentially life-threatening.

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The picturesque village of Thornton Watlass in North Yorkshire

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is the perfect place to get away from the noise and stress of urban life,

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but if something goes wrong, living in this rural paradise

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also means you're miles from the nearest hospital, and that's where the Helimed team come in.

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One of the villagers is having chest pains and there's concern he could be having a heart attack.

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This condition is relatively straightforward to treat in hospital, but patients

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must get to specialist care quickly.

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That's why in remote districts like this, heart attacks can be fatal.

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We've been despatched up to a detail in North Yorkshire,

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a patient that I've spoke to on the phone who's had chest pain

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for approximately an hour.

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It seems to have got worse.

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He's fitted the criteria for us to actually despatch and go out to him.

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Chest pain radiating down his left arm, didn't feel well, felt nauseous.

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With any heart attack, time really is of the essence.

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The quicker we can get him to definitive care at Leeds,

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then the better chance there is

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of a better outcome long-term for the patient.

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Quite a bank of cloud ahead just coming. Can you see it, yeah?

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At 150 miles an hour, the 20-mile trip will take less than 10 minutes,

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but there's a problem, which means Helimed 99 may never reach its patient.

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Yeah, the weather is quite bad out here.

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We don't have much visibility, quite a low cloud base.

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We're not going to be able to route direct to the incident.

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The ground to the north gets higher for us.

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It starts climbing the further north we get.

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The plan is to head out to the east and get to the Vale of York and basically track the A1 up.

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'York Control. Helimed, go ahead, over.'

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This is so frustrating for the crew, but flying into that could be dangerous

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and many of the UK's other Air Ambulances are grounded.

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The weather is quite poor at the moment, so there is a possibility

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we may have to turn back, but we are giving it a go.

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The ETA is about ten minutes, over.

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They know their patient needs their help, but pilot Steve Cobb must put the safety of his crew first.

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-It's definitely worse out to the west, though, isn't it?

-Yeah.

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But on the horizon, there's good news.

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The clouds are lifting and Thornton Watlass comes into view and a local groundsman

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is about to get a shock as pilot Steve heads for the village cricket pitch.

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-Just watch, he's got a rope around it, this cricket pitch.

-Yeah.

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It won't take long for paramedics Tony Wilkes and Lee Davison

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to find out if their patient's having a heart attack.

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An electrocardiogram, or ECG machine, can detect even the smallest irregularity

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in someone's heartbeat.

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It's not definitive from what we've seen on his ECG that he's had a heart attack,

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but there are some anomalies that may lead us towards that.

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There's suspicions that there's something going out.

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The treatment that you get for that is time-critical,

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so if you went by land ambulance, it'd just delay that treatment.

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It takes Lee and Tony some time to convince 61-year-old Thomas Mitchell

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that he actually needs to go to hospital.

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The chest pain has subsided and he doesn't want to inconvenience the crews,

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but Lee and Tony know that Thomas needs to get checked out.

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The risk of suffering a heart attack greatly increases with age.

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We're going to load the patient, but we've got to be careful with where the ambulance pulls up.

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We don't want to be getting stuck with the ambulance next to us,

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because then we can't take off.

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A specialist cardiac team is being readied over 40 miles away at the Leeds General Infirmary.

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Without Helimed 99, Thomas would be facing an hour-long journey in the back of an ambulance.

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The weather we came through is moving across from the west to the east. It's quite a low cloud base.

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We don't want to get to the situation where we're stuck and not able to get back to Leeds,

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which is the highest airport in the country. We have to be careful where we go.

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We've decided to go to Leeds and then we can get straight back to the airport afterwards.

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What's going to happen, we're going to land at Leeds.

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There's a helipad on top of the roof, which is quite interesting,

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so you'll be able to see that as we land.

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Then we're going to take you down to an angio suite, where the doctors will look at you

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and see what's been going on.

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I didn't want to waste his time.

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No, you're not wasting his time, mate.

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The problem with cardiac things, they're not always that obvious

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until you get to hospital and they do tests.

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We'd rather take somebody in and it turns out to be nothing and let you go home,

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rather than you be sat at home and it is something that needs dealing with,

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so you're not wasting his time.

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We'd only be sat watching telly, eating bacon butties anyway, so don't worry about that.

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Thomas seems to be quite relaxed and enjoying the flight,

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but his condition is about to take a sudden turn for the worse.

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You feel sick. Two seconds.

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-Lee?

-Yeah?

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Significant changes now.

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-Is it?

-Oh, yeah.

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OK, mate, just bare with it, a couple of minutes.

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Thomas is having a heart attack.

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He's struggling to cope with the pain and the ECG machine tells Tony all he needs to know.

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Is it extending on two and three?

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-Yeah, yeah. Quite a lot.

-Yeah.

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Tony used to be a cardiac nurse and has seen patients deteriorate like this before,

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but never in the back of a helicopter.

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-OK, we're showing four minutes.

-Four minutes, OK.

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It's four minutes and you'll be there.

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There's little Tony can do and Lee is powerless to help from the front seat.

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You rest it on my knee, if that's going to help, OK?

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INAUDIBLE

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Thomas's heart is desperately trying to pump blood around his body, but it could fail at any moment.

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Tony and Lee must now hope that that pilot Steve can get Thomas

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-to hospital before he goes into cardiac arrest.

-What are you scoring your pain at, Tom?

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If it was three before, what are you saying it is now?

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What's your pain like?

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-Ten.

-Has it gone right up now? OK.

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The sprawling centre of Leeds is a welcome sight for the whole crew, and when speed matters,

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the LGI's rooftop helipad comes into its own.

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Studies show that the first hour after a heart attack is vital, and thanks to Helimed 99,

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Thomas is on his way to the operating table just ten minutes after his attack started.

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If he'd stayed at home, this story could have had a very different ending.

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This is the on call team. We've got direct contact with them if we get patients that require their services.

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As we've landed on the helipad, they're waiting here, actually in the theatre, to take the patient from us.

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Hopefully, he'll get sorted and he'll be feeling 100 times better.

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Modern technology means many heart conditions can now be easily treated,

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but Tony knows just how lucky Thomas has been.

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He was dropping his blood pressure quite significantly.

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That would have carried on. His pulse was continuously dropping.

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That would have carried on. Eventually, it gets to a point where you just can't sustain

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that kind of cardiac rhythm and blood pressure

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and you will go into cardiac arrest and ultimately die.

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Despite medical advances, about 20% of heart attack patients do not recover.

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Thomas undergoes surgery on his heart straight away, and just two weeks later, he's back home

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feeling better than he has done for years.

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No, I didn't realise it was a heart attack at all.

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I just thought it was to do with my arm.

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This pain in my arm was just making all my chest ache and down my leg.

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But, you know, later on, when they said

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you're actually having a heart attack,

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then it all sort of fits, really.

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So, all I was thinking about was the cost of getting this Air Ambulance out to me. I just didn't want it.

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And it wasn't because I was scared to go in it, I just thought it was going to cost too much money.

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They said to me, look, we make the decision, and our decision is

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you're going by helicopter, and that was the end of the argument, really.

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I mean, the decisions the paramedics made

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was the thing that saved my life, I think.

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Coming up, the rescue of a mechanic trapped in an inspection pit begins.

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That collar isn't on perfectly, but it's the best that we can do in the position that we're in.

0:18:580:19:03

And up in the Peaks, a climber's had a nasty accident.

0:19:030:19:06

A real sort of sharp pain in the middle of my spine.

0:19:060:19:09

Every parent knows the importance of road safety, and when kids are young,

0:19:130:19:19

it only takes one moment's lapse in concentration to cause a lifetime of regret.

0:19:190:19:24

And in one village in North Yorkshire, one mum is going through that nightmare.

0:19:240:19:29

Helimed 99 pilot Andy Figg carried out a tricky landing in the middle

0:19:290:19:34

of a village in North Yorkshire to rescue five-year-old Emma Baines.

0:19:340:19:39

She was knocked down by a car after she ran out in the road outside her home.

0:19:390:19:44

Now she needs emergency surgery.

0:19:440:19:47

Her leg is so badly broken, part of her tibia,

0:19:470:19:49

the main bone in her lower leg, was found lying beside her.

0:19:490:19:53

Her father, Richard, knows flying her 30 miles to the James Cook University Hospital at Middlesbrough

0:19:530:19:59

is his daughter's best chance of walking normally again.

0:19:590:20:03

-We have to operate on her leg and do it sort of straight away.

-OK.

0:20:030:20:06

So, it's about a 15-minute flight for us to get up there.

0:20:060:20:09

-OK.

-So, what we'll do first of all is pop her onto what we call a spine brace,

0:20:090:20:13

-which is a long, hard plastic board, and we'll just fly her up to James Cook.

-OK.

0:20:130:20:18

Emma's mum, Lindsey, is distraught.

0:20:180:20:21

She'd been holding Emma's hand on the trip home from school

0:20:210:20:24

when the five-year-old pulled away and ran into the road.

0:20:240:20:27

All right, sunshine.

0:20:270:20:30

You hold on to the bunny.

0:20:300:20:32

Now mother and daughter are on their way to hospital.

0:20:320:20:36

-Daddy!

-Daddy's here.

-Daddy's here. Don't worry, sweetie.

0:20:360:20:40

Look at the helicopter. It's a big yellow one.

0:20:400:20:44

Keeping children happy when they've been seriously injured is difficult,

0:20:440:20:48

but most of the paramedics are parents themselves and have a trick or two up their sleeves.

0:20:480:20:53

Mummy's coming, too. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, clunk. There we go.

0:20:530:20:59

A piece of the bone,

0:20:590:21:01

about that much of the bone, has shattered and come out.

0:21:010:21:04

We managed to get the bone. We're gonna take that to the hospital,

0:21:040:21:07

and hopefully, they can reattach the bone back to the leg and hope she'll make a good recovery.

0:21:070:21:12

We're going to up to James Cook. They've got the surgical skills

0:21:120:21:16

to be able to carry out that operation.

0:21:160:21:19

OK, and lifting.

0:21:190:21:21

-You're all clear on this side.

-Thank you.

0:21:210:21:23

As Helimed 99 lifts off, surgeons are already scrubbing up

0:21:230:21:27

in Middlesbrough, ready to receive their young patient.

0:21:270:21:31

-Yeah, just transitioning. We're just going forward.

-OK.

0:21:310:21:34

Half an hour ago, Emma's mum was wondering what to make her daughter for tea.

0:21:340:21:39

Now she knows she must sit out a tense evening awaiting the result of a critical operation.

0:21:390:21:45

You OK, Emma?

0:21:450:21:47

-She's looking out the window, so that's a good sign.

-This is it, on the nose.

0:21:470:21:52

Someone else who won't be home for an early tea tonight is paramedic Simon.

0:21:520:21:58

That's my house down there at 11 o'clock.

0:21:580:22:02

-Do you want dropping off on the way home?

-Yeah.

-It would save you a drive!

0:22:020:22:06

What the crew haven't told Lindsey is that Helimed 99

0:22:060:22:09

has a technical fault that could have prevented them reaching her.

0:22:090:22:12

The generator that charges the chopper's battery is malfunctioning.

0:22:120:22:17

They daren't stop the engines if they're to get it back to base, where an engineer is waiting.

0:22:170:22:21

We'll land on the helipad, but we're gonna keep the engines running, My colleague will come round

0:22:210:22:27

and get you out and walk you away from the helicopter, and I'll bring Emma.

0:22:270:22:30

So, it's just that the battery's not acting as it should do on the helicopter,

0:22:300:22:35

so we don't want to end up not being able to start when we try and start up again.

0:22:350:22:41

Less than 15 minutes after taking off from the bottom of her back garden,

0:22:410:22:46

Emma is now yards from an orthopaedic surgeon.

0:22:460:22:49

Inside a drinks container, Lindsey is carrying the missing bone from Emma's leg.

0:22:490:22:55

The next hour will decide whether her daughter works normally again or faces a lifetime of disability.

0:22:550:23:01

Coming up, Emma reaches surgery, but there's a setback for the hospital team.

0:23:070:23:13

-Are you all right?

-Yeah.

-Not too tight?

0:23:130:23:15

-Yeah. No, it's OK.

-Good.

0:23:150:23:17

Meanwhile, high in the hills, mountain rescue have an outsized patient on their hands.

0:23:170:23:22

Let's hope they don't drop him.

0:23:220:23:25

More than 200 people die in the UK every year in accidents at work, so Matthew Duffield is lucky

0:23:290:23:36

he's still alive, but he still needs to be rescued

0:23:360:23:39

after a nasty fall in his dad's garage.

0:23:390:23:42

In a garage just a mile from the Air Ambulance HQ at Leeds Bradford Airport,

0:23:430:23:47

flying paramedics Pat Greakin and Sammy Wills are about to perform a dangerous operation,

0:23:470:23:52

trying to move a patient who's fallen head first

0:23:520:23:55

into an MOT inspection pit that's over six feet deep.

0:23:550:23:59

19-year-old Matthew Duffield works in the garage with his dad.

0:23:590:24:03

He hasn't moved since he fell.

0:24:030:24:05

-I'm scared of needles.

-You're scared of needles, mate?

0:24:050:24:08

-Yeah.

-It's OK. We're not going to put a needle in you just yet, OK, lad?

0:24:080:24:12

So, you can relax about that.

0:24:120:24:13

Needles are the least of Matthew's worries.

0:24:130:24:17

It's impossible for Sammy to tell if he's damaged his neck or spine until they move him,

0:24:170:24:21

and a nasty cut on his head could signify a head injury.

0:24:210:24:25

That collar isn't on perfectly, but it's the best that we can do in this position.

0:24:250:24:29

Sammy and Pat decide to attach straps to a rigid spinal board before lowering it into the pit.

0:24:290:24:36

Once they've positioned Matthew onto the board,

0:24:360:24:39

and with the help of the local Fire Brigade, they're going to gently lift him out.

0:24:390:24:43

It's a plan and we're going to stick to it.

0:24:430:24:45

Yeah, I'm just going to unwrangle his legs.

0:24:450:24:48

-But just don't lift, all right?

-Yeah.

-One, two, three, lift.

0:24:480:24:51

Any paramedic will tell you this is a nerve-racking operation.

0:24:510:24:55

Every time they move Matthew, they risk worsening any spinal injury,

0:24:550:24:58

-but there's no other way to get him out.

-Right, are we ready?

-Yeah.

0:24:580:25:02

One, two, three, lift.

0:25:020:25:03

Matthew appears to be pain-free, but Sammy and Pat know

0:25:050:25:08

this doesn't mean their patient hasn't sustained any serious injuries.

0:25:080:25:12

Fractures of the spine can often need a scan before they're diagnosed.

0:25:120:25:16

Are we ready to move about six inches?

0:25:160:25:18

-Yeah.

-Are you ready, Sam?

-Yeah, ready.

0:25:180:25:21

Ready, one, two, three, lift.

0:25:210:25:23

That's it. Right.

0:25:230:25:25

They've done it. Matthew's safely on the spinal board and can now be carefully lifted out of the pit,

0:25:250:25:31

-where he's been lying face down for well over half an hour.

-Well done, Matthew. Stay still for me.

0:25:310:25:37

-My chest is fine now.

-Oh, that's fantastic news.

0:25:370:25:39

-It must have been where my hand was.

-It must have been how you were laid.

0:25:390:25:43

Immobilising a patient is rarely this tricky, but there's still one manoeuvre to do

0:25:430:25:48

before Sammy and Pat can get Matthew out of his dad's garage and on his way to hospital.

0:25:480:25:53

-And ready, steady, roll.

-Nice one, you've played a blinder there.

-Fantastic.

0:25:530:25:58

Helimed 99, yeah, we'll definitely be taking Chris. If you could jack up the porters

0:25:580:26:03

and just give Cobby a ring and let him know that we are taking.

0:26:030:26:07

-Sam, I keep thinking this is a dream.

-It's not a dream.

-I know it ain't.

-Are you mum?

0:26:070:26:11

-Yeah.

-Thanks, Mum. Yeah, I'm fine now.

0:26:110:26:14

-Take a deep breath for me, Matt. Good lad. Does that hurt any?

-No.

-Relax.

0:26:150:26:19

It must have been where my arm was.

0:26:190:26:20

Despite being strapped onto a spinal board,

0:26:200:26:23

Matthew seems pretty relaxed and unaffected by the ordeal.

0:26:230:26:27

For his rescuers, it's been a gruelling operation that's taken 20 people nearly an hour to complete.

0:26:270:26:33

But for pilot Steve, the hardest and most dangerous part of this mission is still to come.

0:26:330:26:38

This is quite a tight landing area. It's an old quarry. There's also lots of industrial work around it,

0:26:380:26:44

skip lorries, concrete work, et cetera, quite high trees and a lot of telephone lines there.

0:26:440:26:49

So, it was quite a tight landing.

0:26:490:26:51

We have to watch out, especially today, very windy,

0:26:510:26:54

watching out of for debris coming out of skips.

0:26:540:26:57

So, it's all eyes out the window for this one.

0:26:570:26:59

Helimed 99 is capable of climbing at over 2,000 feet a minute,

0:26:590:27:03

but this take off requires a more delicate approach.

0:27:030:27:06

Helimed 99, alpha.

0:27:080:27:10

And thanks to Steve, in just a matter of seconds, the helicopter

0:27:100:27:14

is speeding towards the Leeds General Infirmary and its rooftop helipad.

0:27:140:27:18

He's been very lucky. He's put his hands out in front of him, which has managed to save his face.

0:27:180:27:23

The position of where he was and his position of how he was laid, he was hurting all over.

0:27:230:27:28

It was quite a challenge to assess.

0:27:280:27:30

I could only hear the breath sounds, but he was saying his chest really, really hurt.

0:27:300:27:34

Once we'd got him out of the pit and been able to lay him face up,

0:27:340:27:38

it became quite apparent that his injuries,

0:27:380:27:40

although he was complaining of pain, weren't as severe as I'd feared.

0:27:400:27:44

We still brought him into resuss to get him checked out.

0:27:440:27:47

I don't think he'll be in here very long and his mum and dad are on their way.

0:27:470:27:50

Matthew's had a remarkable escape.

0:27:500:27:53

Last year, well over 100,000 people were injured while at work

0:27:530:27:57

and many of these people will take weeks, months or even years to get back on their feet. But not Matthew.

0:27:570:28:04

By the end of the week, he's helping his dad David to clear the backlog of MOTs,

0:28:040:28:08

and he's making sure he's being a bit more careful.

0:28:080:28:12

A cut across my nose and a graze on my leg,

0:28:120:28:15

left leg, left elbow and my left forehead.

0:28:150:28:18

-I won't be going down the pit again!

-Right, Matty, waggle those wheels up and down.

0:28:180:28:24

Right, and spin it, please.

0:28:240:28:25

It's distressing for any boss to see an employee injured at work, and dad David is especially careful

0:28:250:28:31

-when it comes to safety at the family business.

-Right, thank you.

0:28:310:28:35

Start it up, please.

0:28:350:28:36

-But there was nothing he could do to stop Matthew falling.

-Quite unbelievable.

0:28:360:28:40

It looked really proper deadly serious on Monday,

0:28:400:28:43

but how he's walked out of there, I don't really know.

0:28:430:28:46

He must have just bounced. Luck must have been on his side that day.

0:28:460:28:50

Coming up, there are extra lessons in road safety at little Emma Baines' primary school.

0:28:530:28:59

ALL: If you want to cross the road...

0:28:590:29:02

But will she be fit to join them?

0:29:020:29:03

To land a helicopter, you need a relatively flat piece of land and down it comes.

0:29:190:29:24

But when your patient's stuck over the edge of something like this,

0:29:240:29:27

the Helimed team are going to need this lot's expert help.

0:29:270:29:32

Mountain Rescue, a volunteer force who will turn out 365 days a year, whatever the weather.

0:29:320:29:39

I'm spending the day with them at Curbar Edge in the stunning Peak District.

0:29:390:29:43

It's a popular spot with climbers, and my job today, well, not so much climber, but faller.

0:29:430:29:50

Right, the scenario is, I've been climbing, I've fallen, I've hit the deck hard and I've hurt myself.

0:29:500:29:56

They've got to find my injuries, and let me just show you what it is.

0:29:560:30:00

Don't panic, it's only a plastic fracture.

0:30:000:30:03

Ow!

0:30:030:30:05

So, Mountain Rescue are on their way.

0:30:050:30:08

Let's see if they can diagnose my injuries.

0:30:080:30:12

Well, I'm lying here, waiting to be rescued, and the weather is closing in, and it really is.

0:30:120:30:18

It's cold, it's windy, it's wet and I hope they get here fast.

0:30:180:30:22

-Just keep nice and still for me.

-I can't, it hurts.

-Just...

-It hurts.

0:30:240:30:27

'While I audition for a bit part in Casualty, one of my rescuers has to find the problem.'

0:30:270:30:32

And how's your legs feeling? Is it any one in particular?

0:30:320:30:35

..Right, I'm just going to give it a quick feel, OK?

0:30:350:30:38

-'And I'm not giving anything away.'

-Everything OK there?

-'But then...'

0:30:380:30:42

-Argh!

-OK.

0:30:420:30:44

-'..he finds my broken leg.'

-All right.

0:30:440:30:47

-Rav?

-Yeah.

-Is it your lower leg or your upper leg that's hurting?

0:30:470:30:50

-No, it's the bottom.

-Oh, that's got to sting.

0:30:500:30:53

'This may be a practice run for them, but it's vital the team get this right.

0:30:530:30:57

'After all, we're on a rock face in the Peaks, and when you fall up here, you need help.'

0:30:570:31:02

Helimed 98 receiving, East Mids Control, go ahead.

0:31:040:31:07

The patient is meant to be half a mile from the car park

0:31:070:31:12

given that grid reference earlier on, and they are looking out for you.

0:31:120:31:17

Edale Mountain Rescue are now on route, over.

0:31:190:31:23

Today we've been tasked by East Midlands Air Ambulance Service

0:31:230:31:27

for a walker who we believe has fallen over and hurt his back.

0:31:270:31:30

The weather at the moment is looking a little bit dodgy for getting up onto the Peaks.

0:31:300:31:36

Pilot Tim Taylor's job is not just flying the helicopter today,

0:31:360:31:40

he has to predict what the weather's going to do, and he's concerned.

0:31:400:31:43

We don't want to hang around when we get there.

0:31:430:31:46

-We need to get him on board and probably come back to...

-OK.

0:31:460:31:49

As Helimed 98 arrives at Stanage Edge,

0:31:490:31:51

the rocky outcrop where the climber has fallen, there's another problem.

0:31:510:31:57

-We're just in the realms of every

-BLEEP

-waving at us now.

-Yeah.

0:31:570:32:01

There are of lots of people out today and most of them are waving at the Air Ambulance.

0:32:010:32:05

The crew don't know whether it's a greeting or a signal.

0:32:050:32:09

Did the Mountain Rescue say they were on scene?

0:32:090:32:12

No, they were being activated.

0:32:120:32:15

-There they are there.

-They're waving.

0:32:150:32:17

Finally, they spot the fallen climber and there's no way Tim can land here.

0:32:170:32:22

It's too steep and too rocky.

0:32:220:32:25

INDISTINCT CHATTER

0:32:250:32:27

This side of the cabin, mate.

0:32:270:32:29

You're OK left.

0:32:290:32:33

-OK. I'm taken the bag with me.

-All right, mate.

-I'm going up there.

0:32:330:32:37

Pat is going to have to get out of the helicopter as it hovers a few feet off the ground.

0:32:370:32:43

All right, we need somewhere to land.

0:32:460:32:48

OK, just do a left, mate, do a left.

0:32:480:32:50

With Pat out and on his way to his patient, Tim heads to the bottom of the slope to land.

0:32:500:32:57

Just trying to contact Pat. He's up on the ridge with the patient.

0:32:570:33:01

Pat is exhausted after his steep climb.

0:33:010:33:04

I'll try and get my breath back and then examine the patient.

0:33:040:33:07

We're time-critical, so I'm trying to get an update

0:33:070:33:10

as soon as we can off Pat

0:33:100:33:12

to see what the patient's injuries are.

0:33:120:33:15

-Well, then, mate. What's your name?

-Tim.

0:33:150:33:18

-What's happened, Tim?

-I fell off this.

0:33:180:33:21

Climber Tim Ewington has fallen onto his back.

0:33:210:33:24

He's in pain, but he can move his hands, which is a good sign.

0:33:240:33:28

Can you move all your fingers and toes?

0:33:280:33:30

No pins and needles?

0:33:300:33:32

No, just basically...

0:33:320:33:34

a real sort of sharp pain in the middle of my spine.

0:33:340:33:37

Have you got all-in-one clothing or is it trousers and top?

0:33:370:33:41

-Trousers and top.

-Down below, pilot Tim's problems are getting worse.

0:33:410:33:46

We're running out of daylight and it's starting to get a lot colder

0:33:460:33:50

so the fog's starting to form, so we're in a bit of a race

0:33:500:33:54

against time at the moment.

0:33:540:33:55

We've landed on Stanage Edge, the weather's a bit pants, and...

0:33:550:34:00

For an update, Tim calls the pilot of the other Air Ambulance, Andy Figg.

0:34:000:34:06

Could you check what's happening with weather at Manchester for us, please?

0:34:060:34:09

Andy's at Helimed HQ in Leeds and checks the latest weather charts on his laptop.

0:34:090:34:14

Yeah, I think... I think we'll probably have to give him half an hour and then we'll have to sack it.

0:34:140:34:20

Back up the hillside, a closer examination reveals that the climber could well have a spinal injury,

0:34:200:34:26

but as the weather gets worse, it's looking like the Air Ambulance

0:34:260:34:30

is going to have to leave their patient to the Mountain Rescue crew

0:34:300:34:34

who are arriving in the car park at the valley bottom.

0:34:340:34:36

And all these guys are volunteers.

0:34:360:34:39

'Like anyone in the team, we get a lot out of it because of what it is.

0:34:390:34:43

'We're all walkers, all climbers.'

0:34:430:34:45

We've all had trips and slips,

0:34:450:34:48

so it's just simply putting back into the community, really.

0:34:480:34:53

Still clear left, mate. Visual with Pat.

0:34:530:34:55

If Tim doesn't get away now, the helicopter is going to get stuck in the fog.

0:34:550:35:01

As Mountain Rescue head up the slope to fetch the patient down and bring him to the land ambulance,

0:35:010:35:06

Tim heads home, picking up paramedic Pat on the way.

0:35:060:35:09

Pat's in. Door's not closed yet.

0:35:090:35:12

Despite the weather conditions, Mountain Rescue got their patient down and he needed their help.

0:35:120:35:18

He had badly damaged his spine.

0:35:180:35:21

Back at Curbar Edge in the Peak District,

0:35:210:35:24

the team have splinted my leg and are getting me on the way.

0:35:240:35:27

The chap's been climbing, come off the route here.

0:35:270:35:30

We'll evacuate him back up to the top of the crag.

0:35:300:35:34

Although this is just an exercise, you do feel very vulnerable up here.

0:35:340:35:39

-Hold it at that.

-UK Mountain Rescue actually began here in the Peaks 100 years ago

0:35:390:35:44

when a group of local farmers got together and designed a special stretcher.

0:35:440:35:49

What I'm on is the modern day version.

0:35:490:35:51

It's called a Bell stretcher, and along with the people who carry it, it's a lifesaver.

0:35:510:35:57

And when the call comes in for real, Mountain Rescue are there.

0:35:570:36:01

Up in the Yorkshire Dales, a mountain biker has come off and broken his leg.

0:36:060:36:11

Helimed 99 has been called in to help get him to hospital.

0:36:110:36:16

Pilot Matt Tachin has landed at the top of a hill.

0:36:160:36:19

Mountain Rescue are over the other side of the valley and the patient is a short walk away.

0:36:190:36:25

I've just come down this hill, come off my bike, cracked my shin on the edge of that.

0:36:250:36:31

Howard Jenkins was cycling with his friend Eamon Burke.

0:36:310:36:36

We've got a 42-year-old gentleman, he's come off his mountain bike,

0:36:360:36:42

he's hit a low wall with his right tib and fib, which has fractured.

0:36:420:36:46

Howard's friends Eamon couldn't get a signal on his mobile

0:36:460:36:49

when he first called the emergency services,

0:36:490:36:52

but now he's overwhelmed by the turnout.

0:36:520:36:55

Unbelievable, yeah.

0:36:550:36:57

We're very proud of you all.

0:36:570:36:58

It's often one extreme to another. There's either just two of us here and the pilot

0:36:580:37:03

or we get a football team and its supporters,

0:37:030:37:05

so, yeah, it's brilliant that we've got all these people helping us.

0:37:050:37:08

It just makes the job a lot safer

0:37:080:37:11

and a lot easier for us to get to the aircraft.

0:37:110:37:14

This is the reason why Mountain Rescue are here.

0:37:140:37:17

Carrying an adult male with a badly broken leg

0:37:170:37:20

up a long, steep incline requires a team of stretcher bearers, and all these people who do this

0:37:200:37:26

live in the area and do it because they know one day, it may be them needing a lift.

0:37:260:37:32

Everybody's a volunteer. They will have either been at work or at home doing things with the kids.

0:37:320:37:36

You get disturbed by a beep, beep, beep

0:37:360:37:38

and there's a message, and you then ring in to Comms and pick the job up.

0:37:380:37:42

Prepare to lift. Lift.

0:37:420:37:45

They're all outdoor people and they enjoy doing outdoor pursuits

0:37:450:37:50

and they want to give something back.

0:37:500:37:52

Howard's on his way out of the Dales and on to Harrogate Hospital.

0:37:520:37:56

Back in the Peak District and the Edale Mountain Rescue are still training.

0:38:000:38:04

I did some of this in the Army and I've been so impressed by their dedication to the job.

0:38:040:38:09

-What sort of backgrounds are you? What do you do for a living?

-I work in construction.

0:38:090:38:13

We've got doctors, solicitors, a couple of lawyers, we've got a tax inspector,

0:38:130:38:20

outdoor instructors. You name it,

0:38:200:38:22

we've got someone from just about every profession.

0:38:220:38:25

But when you come into this business,

0:38:250:38:27

that gets left behind and you're here to do your specialist role.

0:38:270:38:30

-It does. Obviously, we use the medical people because it would be silly not to.

-Of course.

0:38:300:38:35

But first and foremost, the team member's the same as everyone else

0:38:350:38:39

and they all muck in and then fetch any additional skills to Mountain Rescue that they can.

0:38:390:38:44

How many days do you cover a year, then?

0:38:440:38:47

-We're on call 24/7, 365 days of the year, basically.

-Really?

-Yeah.

0:38:470:38:51

-Even Christmas day?

-Even Christmas day.

0:38:510:38:53

We had a call out not a million miles away from here a couple of Christmas Days ago.

0:38:530:38:58

Well, Ian, I think you do a really noble job and I take my hat off to you

0:38:580:39:02

and thank you, even if it was just an exercise, for rescuing me and wrapping me up nice and warm.

0:39:020:39:08

-Cheers, mate.

-Cheers, mate.

0:39:080:39:10

Now, let's catch up on the case of that little girl

0:39:140:39:17

who was knocked down by a car after she ran out into the road.

0:39:170:39:20

Outside her home in this sleepy village, little Emma Baines had a terrible accident.

0:39:230:39:28

Her leg was shattered when she walked in front of a car,

0:39:280:39:32

starting a race involving Helimed 99 and its crew to get her to vital surgery.

0:39:320:39:36

Her mum, Lindsey, was terrified.

0:39:360:39:39

It's two months since the crash and I've come to North Yorkshire

0:39:410:39:45

to see how the patient's getting on.

0:39:450:39:48

-Hello. I'm Rav. What's your name?

-Emma.

-Hello, Emma.

0:39:480:39:52

'And if a smile's a good sign, Emma's certainly on the mend.'

0:39:520:39:55

Do you want to come in and talk to me? Yeah, come on, then.

0:39:550:40:00

Two days afterwards in the hospital, she was sat smiling, playing, colouring in.

0:40:000:40:05

Not a bruise on her body, other than her leg.

0:40:050:40:07

It was just amazing. She was very, very lucky.

0:40:070:40:11

'Emma's leg is now held together by an artificial bone.

0:40:110:40:15

'Surgeons were unable to graft her missing bone back on to her tibia,

0:40:150:40:20

'but she's recovering amazingly well.'

0:40:200:40:23

-These are pins here.

-Mm-hm.

-They go in here.

0:40:230:40:28

'Emma was in her first term at school and her classmates were so upset she hadn't made it home,

0:40:280:40:33

'they've bombarded her with get well soon cards.

0:40:330:40:36

'For her dad, it was a day he'll never forget.'

0:40:360:40:39

You were working at home at the time, when you heard this. What must have gone through your mind?

0:40:390:40:44

The scream. It's a scream I'll never forget.

0:40:440:40:46

I knew it was bad, and probably within five seconds

0:40:460:40:49

I rushed out the front of the house

0:40:490:40:51

and, obviously, saw a scene of total devastation, you know?

0:40:510:40:55

Adults and this little one screaming and...

0:40:550:40:58

It's every parent's worst nightmare.

0:40:580:41:01

'But nothing's going to make Lindsey feel better.

0:41:010:41:03

'She'd been teaching Emma road safety for years, and in one moment, it was all forgotten.'

0:41:030:41:09

Now, obviously, there's no way on earth

0:41:090:41:11

this was in any way your fault,

0:41:110:41:13

but do you find yourself with a sense of guilt,

0:41:130:41:16

in some ways, for what happened?

0:41:160:41:19

Terrible guilt, yeah. Obviously.

0:41:190:41:21

She's my daughter, you don't want to see your child go through

0:41:210:41:24

any pain like that, and I question myself.

0:41:240:41:27

Was I concentrating? Did I hold her hand tight enough?

0:41:270:41:30

And I do the Green Cross Code as I learnt it myself as a child

0:41:300:41:35

and I do it every morning on the way to school and it was just another normal day,

0:41:350:41:41

holding her hand as normal, and it just happened so quickly.

0:41:410:41:45

'Doctors say there's a good chance Emma's leg will heal completely

0:41:450:41:49

'and the next big test for her is going back to school.'

0:41:490:41:53

At last, the big day arrives, and Emma's returning to the classroom she'd missed so much.

0:41:560:42:01

-OK? Happy?

-Thank you!

0:42:020:42:05

And guess what's on the timetable today. A special lesson on road safety.

0:42:050:42:10

If you want to cross the road...

0:42:120:42:15

ALL: If you want to cross the road...

0:42:150:42:17

..you've got to use the Green Cross Code.

0:42:170:42:19

ALL: ..you've got to use the Green Cross Code.

0:42:190:42:23

It's one lesson Emma won't be forgetting in a hurry, but sadly,

0:42:230:42:27

she's unlikely to be the last young patient Helimed 99 is scrambled to rescue.

0:42:270:42:32

When Helicopter Heroes comes back,

0:42:340:42:36

there's an air crash and Helimed 99 flies to the rescue.

0:42:360:42:40

-How does your breathing feel?

-Hard.

0:42:400:42:43

A young driver's in trouble in an upturned car.

0:42:430:42:46

Please be careful. Don't let it fall.

0:42:460:42:48

Please, camera, traction. A car chase ends with an injured suspect.

0:42:480:42:53

He's come from that field, through this field, taking out a tree.

0:42:530:42:58

And an unhappy landing for the bird-man who touched down in a tree.

0:42:580:43:02

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:050:43:09

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:090:43:13

A girl is knocked down on her way home from school, pilot Steve touches down at a garage to rescue an injured mechanic, and a herd of llamas presents the team with a problem.


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