Rav Wilding looks at the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. A climber breaks his leg halfway up a cliff face and a golfer saves his father with skills learnt from a TV drama.
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If you're critically ill or seriously injured
in a place like this, there's only one thing that can save you
and that's speed.
It doesn't matter where you are, this helicopter, with its highly trained pilots and paramedics,
will fly to your rescue at two-and-a-half miles a minute.
These are Yorkshire's Helicopter Heroes.
When the people of England's biggest county dial 999
there's a good chance help will come from the skies.
The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is ready to scramble 365 days a year
and each one brings a new life-or-death emergency.
Today on Helicopter Heroes,
there's a rescue operation after a climber is badly injured in the Peak District.
Left ankle, just above the joint, tib and fib poking out.
A golfer collapses on the green
and only his son's first aid skills can save him.
Come on, Dad!
It's all stationary all the way down there, look.
The Helimed team are scrambled to a major road crash.
And the helicopters come into their own
as snow puts the skids under their colleagues on the roads.
I've had to dig myself out about four times.
When I was in the Army I was a climbing instructor
and I must say nothing feels as good as getting to the top of a really difficult crag like this.
Sadly, few things hurt more than falling off.
-It's Curbar Edge, which I would imagine is going to be a rock face.
It's near Froggatt, Froggatt Edge.
Helimed 98 is being dispatched to a climber in trouble in the Peak District.
Thousands of climbers tackle the crags and fells of Derbyshire every weekend.
It's a beautiful but potentially dangerous location.
-'Air desk to Helimed 98, receiving.'
Helimed 98, pass your message.
'Yeah, just for information, I've spoken to Edale Mountain Rescue, they are en route.'
Paramedics Pete Valance and Darren Axe know this area well.
When he's not flying, Pete works on a ground ambulance in nearby Rotherham.
There's a climber fallen off from near the top,
-Yeah, about 25 feet.
-And he's broken his leg just above his ankle, a compound fracture, I think.
It's taken just five minutes for the crew to get to the Peaks
and now pilot Andy Figg must find a safe landing site for Helimed 98.
-Is anybody waving to us?
-There's a large group of people here.
-I think the ambulance has pulled into the car park there.
-Yeah, OK. Do you see anything, Darren?
We've got someone down here waving.
-Oh, right. Here we are, maybe, possibly.
-Yeah, three o'clock.
Oh, nice one, OK.
Helimed 98 to Yorkshire Air Desk, we are on scene and landing.
If we could keep Mountain Rescue running.
OK, you've got two people underneath the nose here.
Yeah, I know. Not a problem. I can see where they are... where our patients are.
Yeah, they're on that outcropping there below...
-Below the outcropping now at your two o'clock, Andy.
All right, if these two people would like to get out of the way.
It's a less than ideal landing site. Large boulders cover the uneven ground and two walkers
are trying to marshal in Helimed 98, but with them standing in the middle
of the landing site the team are relying on Darren's
subtle hand gestures to move them out of the way!
Just keep going!
Helimed 98 are the first emergency service to arrive and help Hungarian climber Attilla Forbour.
Darren's the first to make the treacherous trip down the crag.
Left ankle, just above the joint, tib and fib poking out.
Not a lot of blood. There's blood there, but it's not spurting.
-The bone's protruding out?
-The bone's protruding out, yeah.
Before Darren can treat the climber, he needs to understand what happened.
How far have you come down, about 15 metres?
-No, no. It was nothing at all. About two-and-a-half metres.
Just a very unfortunate landing.
Unfortunate landing, all right. You've not banged your head?
-You've got no pain in your back?
-You've not been unconscious or knocked out, no?
His feet got to eight, nine feet in height,
he hadn't got his first bit of gear in.
Slipped, fell off and as he landed on his mat
he just rolled his ankle.
It wasn't even a hard landing so it's just bad luck.
As paramedic Pete prepares to give Attilla some pain relief more help arrives.
Attilla moved to the Peak District from Hungary largely because of the climbing it offers.
It's no coincidence some of the UK's best climbers live here.
A Mountain Rescue team have also been scrambled to help.
They rescue hundreds of climbers every year
and have the specialist equipment needed to move Attilla off the crag.
What sort of timescale are we looking at?
They'll be here in ten minutes.
Darren and Pete are worried.
Attilla has a very painful broken leg
and lying on an exposed crag 1,000 feet up hypothermia can set in quickly.
-I'm worried about the inconvenience...
-Well, don't worry, mate. We'll look after you.
As Attilla worries about causing a fuss,
Darren discovers this situation is more serious than he thought.
Attilla's leg is so badly broken the blood supply to his foot has been cut off.
-But you know we're going to have to try and straighten this out, don't you?
Because the bones are sticking out.
-And that's not good.
Coming up, resetting the bone is difficult in hospital, but the team have to cope on a rocky ledge.
What we're going to do now is straighten your leg out, OK?
Two Air Ambulances are scrambled after a builder's van is involved in a major pile-up.
There's another Air Ambulance here that are dealing with the chap in the back of the van.
And an elderly man with a heart problem is stuck in the snow.
-He had a collapse driving over the moor, here.
Taking a first aid course is one of the things many of us say we'll do one day and never find time for.
Well, I did some in the police and never regretted it.
But sometimes those lifesaving skills can save someone very close to you.
What was supposed to be a relaxing round of golf has ended prematurely.
Come on, Dad!
Crookhill Golf Club.
The air support unit has been called in and Helimed 99 is on the way.
We're heading out to the outskirts of Doncaster, between Doncaster and Rotherham,
to a golf course. We've got reports
of a gentleman that's collapsed on the 18th tee.
It seems 63-year-old golfer John Harrison has had a heart attack.
His son is with him.
The paramedics are planning ahead. Helicopters like this are fast,
but they don't have a lot of space inside.
In the helicopter we are quite confined, so if we have to carry out
CPR or anything, advanced life support, we are quite restricted to what we can do.
Paramedic Tony Wilkes gets an update.
Still doing CPR. They've give him one shock.
He's on 18th green. There's a large group of people there,
so we should be able to identify him.
As the helicopter comes in to land, pilot JJ Smith has to do what the golfers try to do,
avoid the bunkers and the sand traps surrounding the 18th green.
-He's come off the 18th green, just collapsed, no prior warning.
CPR was in progress upon my arrival. He was in...
Patient John Harrison had just finished his round of golf when he collapsed.
-He's got a family history of heart problems.
His father died of a heart attack, et cetera.
-What's his name?
-It's John Harrison.
Everybody knows him as Snake.
-Right. And how old's John?
Wayne's dad is clinging on to life.
His heart had failed, but one person knew what to do
and knew how to perform heart massage, CPR.
John was kept alive by his own son.
As I knelt down, I could see he wasn't breathing.
If his heart's not working then he's not, you know...
That's probably what the breath thing is, and it's sort of ABC.
So airway, breathing and circulation. So it was a case of, look, what can I do?
-Do you want to get in your car.
-My phone is down here. I'll wait until they move him.
-All right, fine.
'He's not breathing. His chest is not moving.'
Start doing what you think you can do and I started chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth.
Come on, Dad!
'When I was in the Royal Navy'
I did a St John's Ambulance course, but I would be honest
and say it's probably been brushed up as such by watching TV, watching programmes that show it on TV.
He's better than he was and he's starting to get a reflex back.
'I've always felt'
that I should know what to do in an emergency...
I've got children myself, if something was happening
I should be able to do at least the basics to help them out at that moment in time.
Wayne's heart massage kept blood pumping around his dad's body when his heart had stopped.
Paramedics call it 'effective CPR'. When the land crew arrived,
they were able to shock John's heart back to life.
-We have an output.
-You have got an output again?
-And a reflex.
-Come on, Dad!
-He's been in cardiac arrest.
The land crew's managed to get an output back,
so it's a case of getting as quickly as we can into hospital.
John's son's quick thinking and CPR has increased his dad's chances of survival
from less than 10% to 30%. He has that chance,
but the odds are still stacked against him.
Coming up, Wayne's dad's heart is still beating,
but most people don't survive an attack as serious as his.
Get a bag and mask and everything ready, just in case.
The climber who shattered the bones in his leg
needs urgent surgery, but he's still a long way from hospital.
Getting them out from here is quite tricky and needs the expertise of the Mountain Rescue team.
And Helimed 99 touches down in a playground
to treat a young casualty of an ice slide.
Every county in the UK now has an Air Ambulance.
It's a network entirely funded by charity,
but sometimes an incident is so serious
one helicopter isn't enough.
On a busy holiday route in the Derbyshire Peak District there's been a major pile-up.
Three vehicles have collided and several people are trapped.
Two vehicle RTC, head-on and they are saying three definite trapped.
40 miles away at Leeds Bradford Airport, the crew of Helimed 99
know they've got a long way to go and not long to do it.
No matter how much of a hurry they're in, they must do their pre-takeoff checks by the book.
-1017 of fuel. Clear green, no captions.
-Roger, control switches.
-Both set to fly.
-OK, we've got a bearing of 184.
-About three miles.
-All clear at the back, Steve.
Multiple crashes put unique demands on the emergency services.
Most modern ambulances can carry only one patient, and that goes for helicopters, too,
but the Helimed team won't be alone today.
Controllers have mobilised paramedics across a wide area.
-'Helimed 99, this job at Ashton, five persons trapped,
'two car RTC head-on, four ambulances en route,
'you and another Helimed also en route, over.'
Sounds a bit juicy, this.
There's another Area Ambulance also en route.
He'll get there before us no matter where he's coming from.
'It's Helimed 54,
'Helimed 54 also en route with yourself, over.'
This isn't good news for pilot Steve Cobb.
Radar coverage on the Peaks is patchy at best and mid-air collisions are a real risk.
He decides to talk to his colleagues in the County Air Ambulance.
I'll just see if I can raise this other Air Ambulance.
Helimed 54, this is Helimed 99 on the RC.
But no-one is talking and now Steve will be relying on his eyesight to spot another chopper
heading to the same job at the same speed.
Head-on they'll be closing at 300mph.
-It should be right on the nose, actually.
-I've got stationary traffic on that road down there.
-See the tanker there?
-Straight ahead of us? Straight down the middle?
-It's all stationary all the way down there, look.
On these rural roads a jam usually means only one thing, a crash.
There's relief all round when they find the county chopper is already on the ground.
-Thanks. We've just had a word with your medic.
-He said this one's going to be for us at some stage.
A gang of contract workers have been using their van as a bus.
It's a practice discouraged by the police because this is what happens when there's an accident.
We've two serious casualties - the driver trapped in the front
and someone in the back of the van that we've not had a look at.
Another Air Ambulance will deal with the chap in the back of the van
so we'll deal with the chap in the front.
Hello, Paul. Are you all right? Yeah, these guys looking after you?
He's still trapped as you can see. There's quite a lot of deformity to the vehicle,
but he's conscious and talking. His airway is fine, he's breathing fine.
His circulation is fine. He's got an injury to his shoulder, possible some injuries to his legs.
The driver's foot is entangled around the brake pedal,
they need to free it to move him
but the Fire Brigade's cutting equipment is too big to reach the footwell.
-I've just tried pedal cutter in and it won't go.
-No. And we've haven't got anything smaller, have we?
-I reckon we can move his foot.
We reckon now we can move his feet down this side.
There's a lot of damage to the car. It's been quite a high speed impact. Although he seems fairly stable,
he obviously could have significant injuries that are yet to become apparent.
One of the driver's mates has been lucky to escape with a broken arm
but the man travelling in the back of the van has a collapsed lung so a flying doctor
has to perform surgery in the road, inserting a chest drain to reinflate it.
The County Air Ambulance copped for the most seriously ill patient,
so they'll take theirs to Sheffield. It's only five minutes from here.
We'll take our gentlemen to Manchester, to Wythenshawe,
as it's ten minutes from here for us.
Few hospitals are equipped to deal with several seriously injured patients at once.
Often they have no choice but to accept them,
but the speed of the Air Ambulances means several A&E units are often within a few minutes'
flying time and they can share the workload around.
At last, they've found a way to free the driver
and Helimed 99's patient is about to start the journey to hospital.
-I'm going to shift your shoe now, Richard, and your little leg should pop out.
-You can shout if you wish.
-It's stuck on pedal.
-I know, I manoeuvring it
-about until it comes out but that's all.
-That's out, that's out.
-All right, we're out. Marvellous.
All right there, are you? Let's get your leg round.
The driver's Paul Brown, the leader of the contract gang.
He was driving his men home to Sheffield when the accident happened.
Ready, steady, slide.
Well, done, well done. He's on it.
-Well, done, mate.
-Are you all done?
He has a broken wrist and collar bone as well as deep cuts to his face,
but the team suspect he may also have internal injuries.
I'm just going to have a little listen to your chest, OK?
Just take a deep breath for me, Paul.
Lovely. And again.
But it looks like Paul's been lucky.
His injuries are relatively minor for a head-on impact.
Helimed 99's flight to Manchester should take less than ten minutes,
but that would take it through the dozens of airliners queuing up
to land at one of the UK's busiest airports. It's a headache for pilot Steve.
The best route would have been a straight line from here
but that takes us across Manchester International,
so whether we get that route I don't know.
It is a case of wait and see when we get airborne.
It could be messy but hopefully not.
Air traffic controllers try and give Air Ambulances priority but it's not always possible.
Manchester Helimed 99, alpha.
But today the chopper's allowed to fly straight across Manchester Airport,
with holiday flights carrying hundreds making way for one injured man.
Just ten minutes after lifting off from the Peak District,
their patient's touching down with at Wythenshawe Hospital where Paul will undergo a full examination.
Doctors later confirmed he'd a lucky escape with no further injuries.
Coming up, the golfer who survived a cardiac arrest thanks to his son, but will he recover fully?
What he basically needs is intensive care as soon as possible.
And the chopper faces a monumental problem as a woman collapses in the local churchyard.
Now, let's return to the crags of the Peak District
where a badly injured climber
is relying on Mountain Rescue to save his leg.
In the Derbyshire Peak District, Helimed 98's crew is rescuing an injured rock climber
who's fallen ten feet from a rugged gritstone crag.
Attilla Forbour has broken two bones in his leg
but it's so serious that paramedics Darren Axe and Peter Valance
cannot find a pulse in his foot.
We need to cover this
wound because his bones are exposed to the air and infection.
If the team can't restore blood circulation to his foot Attilla could lose it.
We need to try and straighten his leg somewhat,
immobilise it and secure it in place.
A local Mountain Rescue team have also arrived
and will help get Attilla off the crag, but first Darren and Pete
must examine his leg and that means cutting his shoe off,
the first part of the excruciating treatment.
Don't want to cut your little toe off, do we?
Just support his foot, mate, while I go under here.
Next to arrive is anaesthetist Dr Steve Rowe. He regularly flies
with the Air Ambulance and is also a Mountain Rescue volunteer
in his spare time.
-He's had ten of morphine...
-His pain's reduced but he's still feeling it somewhat.
-I've got no pulse and he can't wiggle his toes at all, so...
My mate'll bring down some gas and air for you to suck on, it's going
to turn you all dizzy and then we're going to pull it straight, OK?
Attilla is in agony, but paramedic Pete delivers the news that it's going to get worse.
As your breathing it in you need to take nice deep breaths,
but it wears off as soon as you stop breathing it
so you need to have that pain relief inside you
for when we move this leg, OK?
OK, ready, steady, go.
Concentrate on your breathing.
Entenox, or gas and air, is keeping Attilla's pain at bay
but his foot needs more painful manipulation.
What we'll do now is straighten your leg out
from the knee, OK?
To keep Attilla's broken leg straight Darren and Pete strap it into a splint.
Just need a clean dressing, now.
Well, done. You did really well. I know that was sore and I'm sorry that it had to hurt you
but your leg's all straight and the bones aren't poking out
and that's a good thing. It means it's going to heal better.
The trauma of moving Attilla's leg has left him exhausted
but his rescuers must now prepare him for the journey to the waiting helicopter.
Although the Air Ambulance is able to get here very quickly
and administer immediate care, that's great, but getting them out from here is quite tricky
and that needs the expertise of the Mountain Rescue team.
You wrap it round your body, closely fitting round the body, then draw the air out
and it's got polystyrene balls inside and it makes it stiff, like a splint around your body.
Ready, steady, lift.
Attilla has fallen on to a ledge no wider than ten foot.
Mountain Rescue teams are trained to deal with extreme situations like this but the hill is steep
and the wet heather is slippery underfoot
and there's a steep drop if anything goes wrong.
On a normal rescue like this it takes about 20 to 25 people.
When we've got the casualty stable and on the stretcher we'll then bring them up the crag
on the stretcher, and that's what you saw. We had to pass the stretcher
between people's hands. Rather than six people carry it we had to pass it on like pass the parcel
and that's the safest and most stable way
of getting a casualty up the crag in these circumstances.
You can put the board on here, please, and then just feed it round.
Today it worked very nicely. Air Ambulance Control were able to alert our team directly,
so we both arrived at a similar time and worked well together.
Attilla knows all about the coordination and teamwork that's needed for such a remote rescue.
I'm on a rescue team, myself.
-Are you a rescue team member?
He's a rescue team member himself.
-No, no, not here. I did quite a bit in the Julian Alps
-and other parts of the world.
-Right, so you'll have been on the other end of all this, then?
Attilla's rescuers have done all they can to save his foot.
They've restored the circulation and stabilised him but with miles to the nearest hospital
it's down to Helimed 98 to get him to the waiting team of surgeons in time.
Coming up, Attilla reaches the hospital, but will his injury mean his climbing days are over?
The leg was bent this way - 90 degrees more or less.
Once you reach hospital, your chances of surviving
a serious injury or critical illness immediately improve
but when your patient's suffered a cardiac arrest recovery really isn't that simple.
63-year-old golfer John Harrison has had a heart attack on the 18th green.
His golf partner is his son, Wayne.
You've got it, yeah, yeah.
He kept his dad alive by performing CPR, heart massage,
until the paramedics arrived and used electric shock treatment to get the golfer's heart going again.
The air crew need to get him to hospital now as soon as possible if he's to have any chance of recovery.
The land crew's done a great job -
they've got a cardiac output back. Time's of the essence now.
We need to get him to Rotherham Hospital as soon as we can do.
Caring for Dad isn't the only priority at this stage.
Wayne has done a fantastic job but now he must leave his dad in the hands of others.
Paramedic Paul reassures him.
It's important he knows exactly what's going on.
We'll take him to Rotherham Hospital, all right? It'll take us two minutes to get him there.
Don't break your neck getting there. The last thing we want is for you to have an accident.
-At this moment, Wayne, dad's heart's beating again on its own.
'I never stopped talking to him. I told him he wasn't going. I did call him a few...
'a few obscene names that,'
you know, there was plenty of life left and it wasn't...
As I say, it wasn't the time or the place to be going anywhere.
'It started to affect me more in a shock
'at what had gone on because, as I say, it was so out of the blue.
'I thought, "It's too late."
'I thought what I'd done wasn't enough.'
Speed means survival with cardiac cases.
Even the best CPR can lead to the brain being starved of oxygen with lethal complications.
But with a chopper standing by on the 18th green, John has a better chance than most patients.
Although he's breathing on his own, the paramedics are still worried.
Let's just get the bag and mask and everything ready, just in case.
It's a short journey from the golf course to the hospital by air,
with John's son making his way there by road to be with his dad.
A young man who'd I'd never met before drove my car with his friend
following in his car and I couldn't remember where the hospital was.
Luckily, we saw the helicopter and I knew it was in that direction.
We... We got there.
Half a mile to go. And the ambulance is parked in the field.
They call it the "golden hour" but John has made it in minutes.
He will soon be in intensive care.
Emergencies like this don't always run smoothly
but this team effort has gone according to plan giving John the best possible chance of recovery.
I'll look in your eyes, John.
-Yeah, fire away, mate.
The crew have done really well and eventually they've got a pulse back, a cardiac output,
so what he needs is intensive care as soon as possible which is why we brought him straight to Rotherham.
It's three months since John's heart attack
and there's no chance of teeing off today
but two golfers have come back to the wintry 18th green.
If you don't have heart massage after cardiac arrest
your chances of survival go down by 10% every minute,
which means John owes his son his life.
He's not fully fit but he's alive.
This is where, I think, where it happened.
The helicopter landed there on the green.
Well, I'm stuttering at bit with my speech therapy
but I'm all right apart from that, you know?
-It looks a bit different now.
It definitely looks different now but, um...
first time we've been back.
'I think he's 90% better.'
He's still got a little distance to go.
The emergency services that got him there, the nursing staff
et cetera that have nursed him through have been fantastic.
The aftercare help he's had has been fantastic.
Now, it's a case... I think it's just going to be small steps, but hopefully we'll...
Well, I know we'll get to where we've got to get to.
Wayne and his dad hope one day they'll play again.
He only normally plays with me because I'm the only one that will put up with his cheating!
'Life's important, isn't it? You know,'
life itself. But the ambulance and the hospital staff
are absolutely brilliant and they're worth their weight in gold,
as simple as that. I never thought I'd ever be
in an ambulance in my life, a helicopter anyway!
And father and son are closer than ever and are even making plans for a rematch.
I'll look forward to coming back when the weather's better
and the next game of golf we play will be together.
I'm proud of my son, yeah. He's brilliant.
Coming up, the climber rescued from a rock face recovers from surgery
but doctors will decide whether he climbs again.
The Helimed teams spend their lives fighting nature.
They're always up against the weather
and the rugged Yorkshire landscape does its best to get in their way, too.
Winter comes early in the Pennines.
It may look beautiful but snow means the flying paramedics are likely to be busy.
Today, Helimed 99 is heading north to the icy Yorkshire Dales
for an elderly patient who has suffered a cardiac arrest
on a road near the market town of Leyburn.
-'They're currently located in a 4x4 vehicle.
'He's in a very poor state and there's concern that he may arrest.'
With snow blocking many roads, the helicopter's his only hope.
Winter takes its toll, especially on the elderly.
When you start to get cold it puts stress on the heart. It has to beat
that bit harder to get the blood pumped around your circulation.
But the snow's the least of pilot Steve Cobb's worries.
He's heading into one of the UK's busiest military training areas.
Could you just have a buzz through that, Simon, and see
-if if it says anything about danger areas where my finger is?
Helimed 99 could come under fire from the Army if Steve can't contact the military
and ask them to stop shooting on the rifle range
that's right next to the road where their patient is waiting.
We'll need to make sure we don't inadvertently go whizzing in and get shot down.
The trouble is the military can't decide who's in charge of the range.
-'I do have a contact number for 409 and 408 but not for 442.'
Roger. If you give it on 409, please.
Just in time word reaches the ranges, and a temporary ceasefire is declared.
'They have got through to somebody
'and he says they will be... They can stop firing.'
Roger, that's great, thanks very much. We'll be there in about four minutes.
Heavy snow has brought chaos to the Yorkshire Dales with minor roads blocked
and the temperature below zero even at lunchtime.
This is no time or place to be seriously ill.
You all right?
-This is an 80-year-old gent who has basically had a medical collapse driving over the moor here.
Their patient, 82-year-old Tom Shepherd, was taken ill
as he tried to reach his home in the remote village of Reeth.
He's one of hundreds of motorists caught out by the early arrival of winter.
It's even caught some of the locals out because I was talking
to one local we were digging out on top of the Buttertubs
and he hadn't gone anywhere with a shovel and he thought he could get through in his 4x4.
The roads are so treacherous Helimed 99, which is based 30 miles away,
has been on scene for two minutes before the local land ambulance crew arrive.
We've had to dig ourselves out a few times.
I certainly have had to dig myself out
about four times in the last two days, so it is quite hard going at the moment.
Tom's in a bad way.
He has a history of cardiac problems and he has a pacemaker fitted.
It looks like he's fairly stable at the moment. Still worried about him, but it's nothing too bad.
It's feared Tom had a cardiac arrest.
He's lucky his heart appears to have restarted itself but he needs urgent medical treatment.
Troops preparing for war in Afghanistan
have had to stand and wait while Helimed 99 was in the firing line.
Now the ceasefire's over as the team lift off for Harrogate Hospital's coronary care unit.
But the weather is continuing to cause disruption across much of the north
and the NHS is feeling the freeze, too.
-Just getting a sat phone call, mate.
-'I've just spoken to casualty again, Si.'
They're not refusing to see you but they're saying if you could go to James Cook it would help.
They've no beds in the department and they're full in resus.'
It would help them out.
-Harrogate are full. They're not refusing us, but it would help them greatly...
-If we could go there.
-Let's go to LGI, then.
-OK, do you want to check that with Si?
Are you OK there, Tom, mate? You're not struggling with your breathing or anything?
Tom needs urgent medical attention, but if there's no bed for him at Harrogate he'll have to be flown
15 miles further to Leeds.
It's all down to the weather.
It's called 'winter pressures', that's what the NHS refer to it as.
It's the rise in road accidents, people falling and breaking their wrists and ankles and things.
It all adds up to a wait in A&E.
Even big city hospitals aren't immune from those pressures.
Leeds General Infirmary is itself full to bursting today but they do have room for Tom.
Thankfully, his heart scare didn't cause any permanent damage and he was home for Christmas.
Even back at base,
Leeds Bradford Airport,
the early winter makes a difficult job even harder for the Helimed team.
This year's been quite bad for us,
yes. We've had snow, we've had fog, we've had mist,
we've had rain, it's been cold and miserable.
As I say, it's been below plus two for the last three weeks so it's not been nice.
We've not been caught out yet.
There's still plenty of winter left so we have to be careful every day,
make sure we know what the weather's going to do and make sure we have the right kit with us
If it's snowing, the apron where the aircraft's based
gets covered in snow, maybe ice, it gets quite slippy.
Snow and ice can alter the shape of the blades
which reduces the lift and can compromise our performance.
We operate quite a lot up in the Dales, Yorkshire, in the Peak District.
If we do have a problem up there with the aircraft and we get stuck
then we could have problems in just surviving up there in the middle of winter.
You need to be properly equipped when snow comes to Yorkshire,
not like this walker up at 2,000 feet in jeans and trainers.
It's not for nothing that Helimed 98 carries a tent and survival equipment.
A forced landing up here in the Fells would be serious.
Today, the team are heading for the market town of Settle in the Dales
where an elderly lady has fallen in the snow.
Basically, what's happened is the lady's been walking on the packed ice
and she's fallen and she's got a fracture of her leg. Luckily
that's a surgery across the road so they've managed to come and assist her.
The accident happened in the local churchyard.
Finding a landing site could be tricky.
OK, just going over tall trees now.
Pilot Andy Figg must manoeuvre three tonnes of helicopter into a handy gap
between the gravestones.
Elderly people are especially vulnerable to falls in snowy weather and 82-year-old Christina Isles
has suffered the most complex form of broken leg, a compound fracture.
Helimed 98's paramedics are usually welcomed by their patients, but Christina has news for her rescuers.
-I hate helicopters.
-You hate helicopters? Right.
-Have you ever been in one?
-I've been on an aeroplane a couple of times.
It's a little bit noisier than an aeroplane.
Nurses from the local GP surgery have made Christina more comfortable, but the graveyard
where she's lying is freezing and she needs urgent hospital treatment.
The actual bone's
come out, cracked and it's sort of bent her ankle round.
We're going to apply traction, give her some painkillers
and put it back round again so she's got a pulse back in her foot.
-Keep breathing, Chrissy.
-In and out. Keep breathing in and out.
-All right, lovey.
-Well, done, you were very brave. I'm sorry if that hurt you.
Christina's trip to hospital in Lancaster is likely to be
more comfortable by air, even if she doesn't like flying.
The good news is her broken leg was set and she was soon back home
but she won't be taking any more shortcuts in the snow.
One man's blocked road is another child's playground and that's why Helimed 98
is on its way to a primary school near Pickering on the edge of the North York Moors.
The weather's played a huge part for the Ambulance Service.
Over the last couple of days we've had a lot of ice
and it's made the footpaths, paths, roads treacherous.
Teachers saw 11-year-old Grace Smith fall during morning playtime.
She's hurt her back and her symptoms are worrying.
She's got no feelings in both arms, which is obviously a bit concerning. That's all we know, really.
The ambulance crew's been dispatched from Whitby, which is quite a way from Pickering.
Landing in the middle of a market town can be tricky, but thanks
to the school's football pitch pilot Tim Taylor's got a handy helipad waiting.
200 kids have been ordered to stay inside as Grace's rescuers arrive but the windows are crowded.
Ground paramedics have already started checking out Grace's back.
We're going to ask you to very, very slowly I want you to turn your head
and if at any point it hurts I need you to tell me, OK?
Her fall happened only days after she took a tumble from her pet pony and that's a bad sign.
But the fact that she can move her arms after all is a very good sign.
And she's just tripped up today, basically. The initial worry about her having no feelings
in her arms has disappeared. She's got full movement.
It seems Grace has just bruised her back
and the numbness may be down to the freezing snow she'd been lying in.
There's relief for her teachers and her gran who rushed round as soon as she heard what had happened.
Typical Grace. I mean, she throws herself into everything that she takes on.
Everything that she takes on, everything she takes part in she just sort of goes wholeheartedly into it.
Today the Helimed team's lifesaving skills won't be needed.
She's walking fine so we'll leave her with the land crew
and, hopefully, she'll be well. We'd rather get to a job
and not be required than be required so, yes, a good ending for us all.
For Sammy this job has brought back memories of her own days at primary school.
I used to dream of helicopters landing at my junior school!
I was staring out the window, "Ooh, what if a helicopter could land here?"
And at least today she gets to give today's kids their own private air display.
All that snow makes you shiver, doesn't it?
Now, let's get back to the warmth of a hospital ward
where a climber who shattered his leg is recovering after surgery.
On a rocky crag high up in the Peak District, Helimed 98 is about to complete
the final part of a mission to rescue an injured climber. Before paramedics
Darren Axe and Pete Valance arrived, Attilla Forbour
was in real danger of losing his foot. Despite a painful procedure
to straighten the badly broken bones there's no more the team can do.
Attilla needs the expert care of an orthopaedic surgeon.
At the Sheffield Northern General Hospital,
a team of doctors is waiting for the Helimed team's arrival
but the job of reconstructing his foot will put all of them to the test.
It's not as bad as it looks.
But it's... It looks like a torturing machine or something.
The bones were sticking out that way
and the leg was bent this way 90 degrees, more or less.
It took doctors hours of complicated surgery to reconstruct
and realign Attilla's foot but after a few months' rest
he should be able to put his climbing shoes on once again.
It wasn't a real fall. It was almost jumping off
because I went for the big hold on the top.
I didn't get it for the first time and I thought, "I'll just lower myself down a bit."
It was just a very, very bad landing. A few minutes earlier
you were climbing, you were independent, you were doing what you wanted to do,
and a few minutes later
being dragged around on the hillside by people you don't know.
It is a very scary experience.
Three months later and Attilla's climbing buddies are back traversing their way across
the Peak District's rocky outcrops
but Attilla's recovery is taking longer than expected and his feet are still firmly on the ground.
I went out a couple of times with them since the accident actually and I'm quite enjoying watching.
I was going to do some climbing today, actually, but I'm not quite sure if they would let me!
Attilla's best mate Kev was climbing with him when the accident happened.
It's frustrating for us because, I mean, we've got a good mate
who can't climb with us. It's just one of those freak accidents that happens.
The Air Ambulance was superb. I mean, they got to the crag,
they circled, they instantly knew where to land
and were there very, very quickly.
And despite the pain he inflicted on Attilla by straightening
his broken leg, he's full of praise for beefy paramedic Darren Axe.
'Wow! He was just absolutely brilliant. Actually I was told in the hospital
'that he saved me probably a couple of months of suffering
'with doing such a good job with it and putting it back'
right at the place and without actually making any further damages than there was already.
Originally from Hungary, Attilla loves the great outdoors
and used to be a Mountain Rescue volunteer himself.
But if you thought nearly losing his foot would put him off climbing you'd better think again.
There are all sorts of lovely climbing destinations so the challenges are out there
and I just need to get a bit better.
I can't wait to be back on my feet and to be able to do it again.
When Helicopter Heroes comes back,
a walker slips on an icy ravine and starts a major rescue operation.
Coming down here wasn't such a good idea.
There's a race to save a golf club greenkeeper's badly injured hand.
This gentleman has put his fingers into what looks like a strimmer.
The team hit the language barrier after a French jockey falls from her horse.
HE SPEAKS FRENCH
His dialect's wrong.
And winter puts the skids under Yorkshire's motorists with painful results.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd.
E-mail [email protected]
A climber falls and breaks his leg halfway up a cliff face, a golfer saves his father with first aid skills learnt from a TV drama and in the Yorkshire Dales snow puts the emergency services on the skids.