Episode 20 Helicopter Heroes


Episode 20

Rav Wilding follows the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Helimed 99 is grounded by blizzards - but their patient is suffering a heart attack.


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Transcript


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If you're seriously ill or critically injured up here,

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your life is in real danger.

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He's complaining of severe pain.

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Mid-30s, been ejected from a vehicle.

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Hospital's an hour away by road,

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and speed is the only thing that can save you.

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Yeah, Roger, Helimed 99's on route to you, over.

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The Yorkshire Air Ambulance and its highly-trained paramedics are scrambled 1,000 times a year.

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-Tell me what's happened.

-A child was on the path, a wagon cut the corner and ran over him.

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Many of its ex-military pilots flew the SAS into action.

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That's not a suitable landing site. This one here is.

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Welcome to the life-and-death world of the Helicopter Heroes.

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Today on Helicopter Heroes...

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A woman's fighting for her life,

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but the chopper's grounded by a blizzard.

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The snow is stopping us getting to the hospital. OK?

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His baby's birth is only hours away,

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but this father-to-be is dangerously ill.

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His wife's pregnant. I just hope he's OK.

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The driver who demolished a bus-stop.

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He's hit the windscreen with his head.

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Did you hear owt crack?

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He retired on Friday.

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And a new pensioner takes a fall.

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And I begged him not to go. But it didn't make any difference!

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Apart from the beauty,

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what brings most people to live in the Yorkshire Dales is the solitude.

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But when winter comes, the very remoteness of these valleys can be deadly.

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It's November, and England's most famous dale

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is struggling to cope with the big freeze.

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Many roads in Wensleydale are blocked by snow.

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And Helimed 99's been scrambled to fly a patient

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to the James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.

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Yeah, we've been requested to attend an elderly lady

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up in Leyburn in North Yorkshire.

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She's been diagnosed as having a heart attack.

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So, with the land ambulance today, in this weather - it's really snowy and icy.

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It'd take about an hour plus to get up to Middlesbrough.

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So they've requested our attendance to take this lady up there.

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Their patient is seriously ill. Her life's in real danger.

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But drifts up to six feet deep are making travel all but impossible on minor roads,

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and more snow is forecast.

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But from 2,000 ft, the weathermen appear to have got it wrong.

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-Beautiful and clear, isn't it?

-It's gorgeous.

-Absolutely stunning.

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-Clear as a bell, isn't it?

-Absolutely.

-A tropical -2(!).

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Absolutely.

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The woman's being cared for in the back of an ambulance.

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Its crew have driven to a landing site on the edge of town.

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-I can't see that wire at all.

-I think it's going that way.

-Yep.

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The ambulance crews are trained to identify

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helicopter landing sites, and this is a good one.

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It's perfect, apart from a telephone wire.

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-Ready, then?

-Shall we come in? Yeah.

-Joyce is 90.

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-She was at the Quakers' Meeting House this morning.

-Right.

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They were having a meeting. And she came over quite poorly.

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Joyce Thompson's lived in Wensleydale for almost 90 years.

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Its isolation is part of what she loves about the place.

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Now, it's endangering her life.

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Tony can see from the ECG print-out

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that Joyce has had a massive heart attack.

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-Get her into the aircraft. I mean, if people can walk up them...

-Yeah.

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..they can to do it or we can put a sheet under and lift her up.

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I was looking at the ECG. It's a big anterior MI,

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which basically affects the front part of the heart,

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the main pumping chamber.

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Saying that, she looks quite all right on it.

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She's quite pain-free at the moment.

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Her age is against her.

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She desperately needs

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to have the block blood vessels in her heart cleared out.

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And the nearest place that can be done

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is 40 miles away, in Middlesbrough.

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-Have a good flight over here, did you, in this weather?

-Beautiful. Crystal clear.

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Pilot Steve Cobb is used to taking some weather forecasts

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with a pinch of salt.

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There's no sign of more snow on the horizon.

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We came this morning. The temperatures were quite low,

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below -10, which can be a problem for us,

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because we have to have anti-icing in the fuel below that temperature.

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Fortunately, by mid-lunchtime it'd warmed up nicely.

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So now it's about just a mere -6, so...everything's fine.

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The sky's clear. We've had some early morning mist, but that's gone now.

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It's a beautiful day for flying.

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But as Helimed 99 takes off,

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none of the crew know that they're about to experience

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one of the most difficult flights of their careers.

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A mission that could threaten the survival of their patient.

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They say climbing's an addiction,

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and there are many people in Pennine communities

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who have moved hundreds of miles just to be close to a challenging rock face.

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Others think nothing of driving into another county

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just to tackle a difficult route.

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Helimed 98's base in Sheffield is on the outskirts

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of one of the UK's biggest industrial cities.

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But it's just a few minutes' flying time

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from the rock faces of the Pennines.

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Crags like this have a deadly attraction for climbers,

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and every year, dozens end up in hospital

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after falls in this unforgiving landscape.

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But today, one man needs medical help in an emergency

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that's a mystery, even to him.

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We believe we're going to a place just north of Hebden Bridge.

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Somebody who's been climbing and is now fitting.

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We've not been told if they've had a fall or a head injury.

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It just seems unusual. And he's not known to be epileptic.

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Because of his location, that's why the aircraft is involved.

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Matthew Troilett felt unwell whilst on a ledge.

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He quickly descended, and began talking incoherently.

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Minutes later, he suffered a fit and lapsed into unconsciousness.

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Matthew's mates called out mountain rescue,

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and Al Day, a Helimed paramedic, turned out to help.

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Now Helimed 98's on its way to the rock face near Hebden Bridge,

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where Matt's been given first aid.

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There are some small domestic cables. I'm not sure where they go.

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-Yeah, I'm pretty sure.

-You can't see them yet, but they're under the overhang.

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-If you look at the rocks.

-Oh, yeah. Good spot.

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Paramedics Sammy Wills and Ben Anderson know these hills well.

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But this case is about to stretch their skills to the limit.

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When I got here, he was not feeling very well at all, really.

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He'd not fallen or anything,

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but he did have a pain in the back of his neck.

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And he was vomiting.

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Their patient's 38, and very fit.

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His illness is a mystery.

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Definitely not banged his head, or...?

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-Or stumbled, or...?

-He was climbing...

-Yep.

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But throughout the whole day...

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He went to the ground like that, and went.

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-Do we have any oxygen down here?

-Yeah.

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Can we just pop him on some anyway? If it IS some sort of neuro challenge.

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Matthew's in a bad way.

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He'd come out on one last climbing trip

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before the birth of his second child.

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He's not had a traumatic episode whatsoever. General unwell.

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Matthew, can you remember what's happened to you?

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-Yeah.

-Yeah? OK. Can you describe to me how you felt?

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-Cos you were able to tell your friend that you felt unwell.

-Yeah.

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-In what way?

-The back of my neck.

-The back of your neck.

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Sammy's baffled by the cause of Matthew's collapse.

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-Can I just confirm - have you banged your head today at all?

-No.

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Have you had a heavy landing?

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His symptoms don't seem to fit anything obvious.

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No illnesses or passings-out during the week?

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Do you suffer from migraines at all?

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Matthew's case just gets more puzzling.

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And has anything like this ever happened to you before?

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Nothing whatsoever? OK.

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Whatever's wrong with him, he needs to be seen by hospital doctors.

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Now, you're laid on your side. If you want, just roll over and go onto your other side, would be great.

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Well, I'd like you just away from the edge. OK?

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I know, I know it's how you feel. But we'll just keep you safe.

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Watch it going down here.

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Getting Matt to the helicopter's not going to be easy.

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But with Al Day's mountain rescue team on hand, it shouldn't take long.

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Although it's only a steep, grassy slope,

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it's quite slippy today after all the rain we've had.

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So we're just putting a back-up rope on,

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just to be certain that there's no slips.

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Matt and his mates drove to this crag from their homes in Lancashire.

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He knows his wife is about to give birth.

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He's desperate to get home to Burnley.

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-Over you go. Keep going, mate.

-Press your head down here, man.

-That's it.

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Air ambulances must take patients to the nearest suitable hospital.

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I believe at this time we'll be taking the patient to Huddersfield Royal. Over.

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-Can I not go somewhere else?

-What's wrong with Huddersfield?

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Sammy fears his condition may be very serious.

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His symptoms could be signs of a brain haemorrhage.

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Matt's worried about missing the impending birth.

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Sammy's more concerned about his survival.

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It doesn't matter how you've hurt yourself,

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the first law of medicine is that all patients are treated the same.

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But sometimes people are injured in ways that are all too avoidable.

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Quite often, the Helimed team have no idea what to expect

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when they're on their way to a job. And today is one of those days.

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We'll let you know as soon as if we need 99. Over.

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The team are heading to a car crash that's killed at least one person.

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Already, the crew are preparing to send a second helicopter.

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I'm not sure if there's more than one fatality,

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or more than one seriously injured. So...

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We're going to get on scene. We're only a few minutes away.

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And if necessary, we'll get them over.

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The crash has happened underneath a disused railway bridge.

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It's a very tight spot for pilot Tim Taylor to land the helicopter.

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-Clear left.

-Crank your door open, Kate.

-Will do, mate.

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If that's all right with you, please, yeah.

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-Katie, you're good at that.

-I've cleared mine.

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I don't think there's anybody on scene yet, Kate, apart from the police.

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Terrible impact on the front side of the vehicle. Airbags and seat belts.

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Everything's gone off, OK.

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The car is barely recognisable after a high-speed and high-impact crash.

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I think he's hit the bus shelter up there and then...

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-It's bounced him off?

-There's a tyre up there.

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I think this is where his head's impacted the screen there.

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It looks like this chap's taken out the stone bus shelter.

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The impact on his car's considerable.

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There is a bull's-eye in the windshield

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so he's obviously hit the windscreen with his head.

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No witnesses to this,

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just people arriving on scene pretty quickly.

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He doesn't seem to have lost consciousness, remembers it all. Half his car's missing.

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I came up to the bridge and there was just rubble

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all in the road and I saw a car down there

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so I just stopped and cos I'm a student nurse I decided

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that there was no paramedics

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and I didn't know if there was any medical help

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so I went to see if I could do anything.

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It's your worst nightmare, you come across it,

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when you see something like that, you think it could be fatal.

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There's nothing else you can do.

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But despite this high-powered Audi having left the road,

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demolished a bus shelter, hit the bridge and lost two wheels,

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amazingly, the driver doesn't appear to be badly injured.

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You can see where he's sat, there's blood up here where he cracked it.

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Not the gate post.

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It's a massive impact into a bus shelter,

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part of the car's up the road under the bridge.

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The rest of it has come to lie down here.

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Luckily not come into contact with any other vehicles.

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It's an Audi, it's a very well-made car and that's probably

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the only reason this guy's still with us.

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The police have started their investigation

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but the paramedics and doctors have also been picking up clues

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as to what may have happened.

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His car's done what it's meant to do.

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It's absorbed all the energy and his airbags have gone off.

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At the moment, his injuries don't appear too bad.

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The strength of this car has clearly saved the driver's life.

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But it also makes it much harder work for the fire service to cut through.

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It's quite amazing that his car's in such a mess

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and he's in one piece, so he's a lucky chap.

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It's now nearly an hour after the crash on this Sunday afternoon.

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The accident has caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

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The driver needs urgent tests in hospital

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and it's a very short flight in Helimed 98.

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ETA? About four minutes.

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The driver's flown to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.

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Despite his car, a bus stop and a bridge being badly damaged,

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the vehicle safety features have done their job well.

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The driver wasn't badly injured.

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Now, let's catch up on the case of Joyce,

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the lady who had a heart attack in the middle of a Dales winter.

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She's on her way to hospital

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but the team are about to face a major setback.

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High in Wensleydale, Helimed 99 is racing north to Middlesbrough

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with a critically ill patient on board.

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Retired teacher Joyce Thompson is 90 and lucky to be alive

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after a massive heart attack.

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Despite the snow that's blocking local roads,

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the weather here is perfect. But that's about to change.

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Cloudy over there.

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Yeah, it's crazy, isn't it?

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On the horizon, there's the snow the weathermen predicted.

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It's late but much more extensive than forecast.

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It's blocking their route to hospital

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and the treatment Joyce desperately needs.

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We're just newly at James Cook now. We're just flying down in a bit of a snowstorm.

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Steve knows that if he's to reach Middlesbrough's James Cook Hospital,

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he's going to need a lot of luck and all of his skill.

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We just have a little bit of snow down here

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we're waiting for it to clear.

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'Helimed 99, approve before continuing.'

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They've no choice but to circle and wait for a gap in the blizzard.

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We're going to struggle here, boys, getting round this little bit.

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Closing in behind us somewhere.

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Let's go a bit further on, a bit brighter.

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-Are you OK, Joyce?

-I'm tired.

-You're tired, are you?

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We're just deciding...this snow is reducing visibility a bit.

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We can't get through it a minute so we're seeing if it's going to clear.

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Steve knows the heavy snow just half a mile ahead of him

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will not only rob him of sight of the ground, but could also ice up Helimed 99.

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We have to make a decision here on what to do.

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How are we fixed for putting it down somewhere where we can meet a land ambulance?

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What about the airport? It's only a mile in the right direction,

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away from the weather.

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Five miles, apologies.

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They know it's too late in the day to reach another hospital.

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A break in the weather is Joyce's only chance.

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99, the airfield is in sight.

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But it's no good. Helimed 99 must abandon its mission

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and divert to the safety of Teesside Airport.

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We're just the markers passing now.

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Is that the airport?

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'The end of there. Can you see the edge of it?

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-'To your right-hand side. If you can park down there, please?'

-Roger.

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They've made their decision just in time. The snow's now so bad,

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Steve has difficulty seeing the airport taxi way.

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I think I have still got it underneath me.

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-We'll go down here and have done with it.

-Yeah.

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OK, we've just landed at Teesside Airport.

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There's snow showers stopping us getting to the hospital, OK?

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So we've arranged for an ambulance to come pick you up.

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Joyce's life could now depend on a ground transfer through the snow.

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It may take time she doesn't have.

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Coming up on Helicopter Heroes...

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It looks like we're not going out tonight.

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Joyce begins her road journey to treatment

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but it's going to be agonisingly slow.

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Remember Matthew? The climber taken ill in the Pennines.

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Let's return to his rescue.

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Matthew's symptoms are worrying. Sammy thinks he may have had a brain haemorrhage,

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a bleed in his skull, which could kill him.

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How long did the episode last for, with the mumbling

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and the unusual words?

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-A minute.

-One minute? OK.

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They need to get him off to hospital quickly.

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Air ambulance paramedic Al Day has joined the rescue

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as part of the mountain rescue team.

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We've come up here just to give the guys a hand getting him out

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from a difficult spot under the crags on a very steep hillside.

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So we've used a back rope, just to make sure everything was nice

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and safe on the stretcher as we were bringing him out.

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But it was fairly nice straightforward job, really.

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The guys have done well.

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While the team worry about Matthew's health,

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he's worried about his wife.

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She's at home in Burnley, heavily pregnant.

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He was just doing a difficult boulder problem, exerting himself,

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and just came down off it and suddenly said, "I feel...

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"I don't feel too good." And that was it, collapsed.

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His wife's pregnant.

0:19:130:19:15

Lifelong friend, so I just hope he's OK.

0:19:150:19:18

I'm glad these guys are here.

0:19:180:19:20

It's a strange one, but he's in the right hands. It's good.

0:19:200:19:24

You all right? Good lad.

0:19:240:19:26

All the symptoms, excruciating head and neck pain, vomiting,

0:19:260:19:31

fitting and a short black out point to a brain haemorrhage.

0:19:310:19:35

Pressure is building up inside his head all the time.

0:19:350:19:39

Matthew will soon be off the hillside and into hospital.

0:19:390:19:44

A scan is vital to see whether he has a life-threatening bleed inside his skull.

0:19:440:19:48

Matthew was transferred to the Leeds General Infirmary

0:19:510:19:55

where surgeons operated for four hours,

0:19:550:19:57

inserting metal coils into the damaged blood vessels in his head.

0:19:570:20:02

He survived but he knows he's been lucky.

0:20:020:20:06

It was just...

0:20:060:20:09

terrible.

0:20:090:20:12

I thought I was going to die, to be honest. So...

0:20:120:20:15

I feel very lucky,

0:20:170:20:20

lucky to be here, to be honest.

0:20:200:20:22

Matthew's heavily pregnant wife, Lisa, is back in Lancashire

0:20:220:20:26

and he's still in Yorkshire, anxiously waiting for news.

0:20:260:20:31

She's been in labour for 70 hours, I think.

0:20:310:20:34

Yeah, I just want to be there. Just to give her a lift, do what I can.

0:20:340:20:38

-That's it.

-You just scared us all.

0:20:380:20:41

Two weeks later, and there's a new kid on the block.

0:20:420:20:47

This is Jake Henry, who's having a little smile and dream.

0:20:470:20:50

He was 8 lbs 3 and he's absolutely gorgeous and a very good baby.

0:20:500:20:56

Lisa was still in labour

0:20:560:20:58

as Matthew was being driven over to be with her.

0:20:580:21:00

He almost made it in time.

0:21:000:21:02

Ended up being rushed in for a Caesarean in the end.

0:21:020:21:06

Just desperately wanting to see Matt, really.

0:21:090:21:12

But as soon as I got out, I phoned him

0:21:120:21:15

and told him we had a little boy cos we didn't know what we were expecting.

0:21:150:21:20

I think we were about an hour away when I got a phone call from Lisa,

0:21:200:21:24

just saying that we'd had a little boy and...

0:21:240:21:29

..we both burst into tears.

0:21:300:21:32

So yeah, it was fantastic.

0:21:320:21:35

I thought he was going to die.

0:21:350:21:37

So to all be home,

0:21:370:21:40

and be reasonably well just two weeks later

0:21:400:21:43

is incredible, really.

0:21:430:21:45

We're just so grateful for everybody that helped.

0:21:470:21:50

Doing it yourself is one of the UK's most popular hobbies.

0:22:020:22:06

Problem is, it's also one of the most dangerous pastimes.

0:22:060:22:10

And every year, thousands of handymen and women

0:22:100:22:13

land themselves in hospital.

0:22:130:22:15

Every day, the Helimed team defy the DIY enthusiasts' worst enemy...

0:22:200:22:25

gravity.

0:22:250:22:26

It's responsible for a lot of accidents,

0:22:260:22:28

especially those involving ladders.

0:22:280:22:31

Helimed 99 is on its way across the Pennines

0:22:310:22:33

to an accident in Lancashire.

0:22:330:22:36

If he's fallen from a height and landed on his chest,

0:22:360:22:38

he's likely to have sustained other injuries too.

0:22:380:22:41

But anything that includes any sort of loss of functionality

0:22:410:22:46

to his chest wall, broken ribs, fractured sternum, collapsed lungs,

0:22:460:22:50

all those things will impede his breathing and can be potentially life-threatening.

0:22:500:22:54

Flying Doctor Andy Poutney and the team are on their way

0:22:540:22:57

to a man who's fallen from the roof of a terraced house

0:22:570:23:00

in the village of Hurstwood near Burnley.

0:23:000:23:03

In the foothills of the Pennines, landing sites are in short supply

0:23:040:23:08

and Dr Andy and paramedic Darren have quite a journey to their patient.

0:23:080:23:12

Hello. How are we doing?

0:23:120:23:14

Steve Baldwin was trying to fix a leaky roof

0:23:150:23:19

when the ladder slipped and he fell 30 feet.

0:23:190:23:21

He initially fell on to his chest. Just had a quick listen,

0:23:210:23:25

he's diminished sounds on his right side.

0:23:250:23:28

He's pain all across his chest here from where he's fallen on to it.

0:23:280:23:33

He's badly injured his leg and the local ambulance crew

0:23:330:23:36

fear he may have a collapsed lung.

0:23:360:23:39

Hiya. You've got pain in your leg and your chest, is that right?

0:23:390:23:43

-Yeah.

-Does your breathing feel worse than normal?

0:23:430:23:46

Just keep your head still for me. It just feels tight?

0:23:460:23:49

He landed on an edge here, on one of these edges.

0:23:490:23:53

Down on that side.

0:23:530:23:55

At the back? OK. When you did that, did you hear owt crack?

0:23:550:24:00

-I didn't hear nowt.

-You didn't hear owt? OK.

0:24:000:24:03

Neighbours heard Steve's cry as he fell.

0:24:030:24:06

He just slipped to this way and he went down there,

0:24:070:24:10

and hit his chest...

0:24:100:24:13

on that corner there.

0:24:130:24:15

-Any pain where I'm touching, Steve?

-No, no.

-None at all?

0:24:150:24:18

-No pain here in the top, no?

-No.

0:24:190:24:22

Steve's wife warned him not to climb up.

0:24:240:24:27

Especially not in his first week of retirement.

0:24:270:24:31

He retired on Friday, and he was helping my daughter

0:24:310:24:34

because my daughter's roof was leaking.

0:24:340:24:36

OK, mate, you just take nice, easy breaths, mate. Not big deep ones.

0:24:360:24:40

So he went up to try and fix the roof.

0:24:420:24:45

And I begged him not to go, but it didn't make any difference.

0:24:480:24:52

Doctor Andy wants to see exactly where the fall occurred.

0:24:530:24:56

Even small details can give a clue

0:24:560:24:58

as to the kind of injuries he may have suffered.

0:24:580:25:01

-He realised he was falling...

-Yeah.

0:25:010:25:03

-..and tried to jump off the ladder.

-Right.

0:25:030:25:06

-And he landed on that small wall.

-That high one there, yeah?

0:25:060:25:09

We've got significant concerns.

0:25:090:25:11

He's fallen a long way, he's got a lot of pain in his chest.

0:25:110:25:14

He's shifting a lot of air in and out of his chest, which is good,

0:25:140:25:17

it means the lungs haven't totally collapsed down.

0:25:170:25:20

He's also tender at the top bit of his abdomen,

0:25:200:25:22

particularly where the spleen is.

0:25:220:25:24

That can bleed and it stays within the capsule of the spleen,

0:25:240:25:28

and it suddenly just... They can decompensate very quickly

0:25:280:25:31

so we have to keep a close eye on that.

0:25:310:25:34

The team are playing it safe.

0:25:350:25:36

Steve's spine has been immobilised

0:25:360:25:38

and they're carefully monitoring his breathing and blood pressure.

0:25:380:25:42

A sudden drop could indicate internal bleeding.

0:25:420:25:44

Steve's going to be flown to hospital for scans and X-rays.

0:25:470:25:51

Any fall over six feet can be fatal, and he plunged five times that.

0:25:510:25:55

Dr Andy fears his patient's condition may be deteriorating.

0:25:570:26:01

It sounds like there's less air

0:26:010:26:03

moving into the right side of his chest than the left,

0:26:030:26:05

and that could indicate a collapse of the lung

0:26:050:26:08

or some blood in there.

0:26:080:26:09

But given it was down towards the bottom,

0:26:090:26:11

I'm concerned as to whether blood's collecting in the lungs.

0:26:110:26:15

These skies are unfamiliar to the Helimed team

0:26:150:26:18

who usually safeguard the other side of the Pennines.

0:26:180:26:20

But the trauma unit at Blackburn Hospital also covers

0:26:200:26:23

part of West Yorkshire, so pilot Steve knows the lie of the land.

0:26:230:26:27

-All right, Steve?

-Yeah.

-Lovely.

0:26:290:26:31

It looks like Steve's been lucky and tests in A&E confirm that.

0:26:310:26:35

Apart from a nasty gash in his leg,

0:26:350:26:38

most of his injuries are superficial.

0:26:380:26:40

He'll soon be home to resume his well-earned retirement.

0:26:400:26:43

There's a power tool for everything these days,

0:26:450:26:48

ready to tackle any DIY job at the touch of a button.

0:26:480:26:51

The trouble is, unless you let go, it will keep on working,

0:26:510:26:55

with sometimes painful results.

0:26:550:26:58

-Facial injuries inflicted by machinery, mate.

-Oh, right.

0:27:000:27:03

Details of the accident are sketchy,

0:27:030:27:06

but it happened near Kendal in the Lake District.

0:27:060:27:09

This grid they've given us is basically on top of the hill.

0:27:090:27:13

Pilot Tim Taylor keeps the chopper at low level

0:27:130:27:17

to try and offset a strong headwind.

0:27:170:27:19

-Six minutes, Steve.

-OK, John. That were like Alton Towers, that one!

0:27:190:27:23

Tom Green is a builder with 30 years' experience.

0:27:240:27:27

But when it comes to power tools,

0:27:270:27:29

even the most experienced operator can make a mistake.

0:27:290:27:32

-All right?

-Oh yeah.

-How are we doing, boss?

0:27:320:27:35

He went to work this morning, he's a builder,

0:27:360:27:39

and he was using a metal whizzer that apparently locked,

0:27:390:27:43

and kicked back into his face

0:27:430:27:46

and cut all his mouth around the front of his facial area.

0:27:460:27:52

Tom is stable, and the wound's been covered by a large bandage,

0:27:530:27:57

but his wife Gill is understandably worried.

0:27:570:28:00

'We only live up the road. He was working on a neighbour's house.'

0:28:000:28:03

This is the first time that anything like this has happened,

0:28:030:28:07

so, yeah, it's a bit of a shock, really.

0:28:070:28:09

We're going to get him out and settled on the aircraft.

0:28:090:28:12

He has a full thickness laceration to the top lip,

0:28:150:28:17

and may have damaged some teeth behind.

0:28:170:28:19

So we're just looking to try and get him

0:28:190:28:21

straight to the plastics or the Max-facs unit.

0:28:210:28:25

Obviously, he's somewhat unhappy with it all, and so would I be.

0:28:250:28:29

We've checked with Lancaster, which is relatively near to us

0:28:290:28:34

as the crow flies, as such, and they have Max-facs services there,

0:28:340:28:38

maxillofacial, so they'll be able to get him seen rapidly

0:28:380:28:42

'by a surgeon and get him fixed up.'

0:28:420:28:44

Just relax back, mate, if you can.

0:28:440:28:46

There's a little headrest behind you.

0:28:460:28:48

Still pain score nil?

0:28:500:28:52

The flight to Lancaster Hospital will take just over 10 minutes.

0:28:530:28:58

Out of here through the gap, anyway. We can track down that.

0:28:580:29:02

For the Helimed team, it's another patient transported

0:29:020:29:05

to expert care in the fastest possible time.

0:29:050:29:07

But for Tom, it's just the start of a long road to recovery.

0:29:070:29:11

Builder Tom didn't waste any time getting back to work.

0:29:140:29:17

But plastic surgery takes months, even years to heal.

0:29:170:29:20

Not days and weeks.

0:29:200:29:22

When the grinder went in my face, it went in the corner of my face,

0:29:240:29:27

from my nose, right in the corner and ran straight down.

0:29:270:29:32

Through both lips, and just to the edge of my chin.

0:29:330:29:39

And it was just completely wide open.

0:29:410:29:43

I've used a grinder 1,000 times and then...

0:29:440:29:48

I just thought, "Will they be able to put my face back together?"

0:29:480:29:53

Tom was in theatre for over an hour

0:29:530:29:56

while a team of surgeons battled to stitch his face back together.

0:29:560:29:59

The result was what he wanted,

0:29:590:30:01

but his love of food had to be put on hold.

0:30:010:30:05

I'd just have, like, mashed potato

0:30:050:30:07

and put it in the back of my mouth on one side with my finger.

0:30:070:30:12

For about a week or two.

0:30:130:30:16

And then I just started to pick up and get stronger,

0:30:160:30:20

and was able to have soup and things like that.

0:30:200:30:23

Even though Tom's physical scars have faded,

0:30:230:30:26

the memories of the accident remain imprinted in his brain.

0:30:260:30:30

When I picked the grinder up,

0:30:300:30:33

probably two weeks after I had the injury,

0:30:330:30:35

I started to wear a big face mask.

0:30:350:30:40

A visor.

0:30:400:30:41

And just kept it well away from me,

0:30:410:30:43

and I never, ever use it at face height.

0:30:430:30:46

People who like water will tell you the best day of your life

0:30:510:30:54

is the day you take delivery of your first boat.

0:30:540:30:57

The second best day is the day you get rid of it,

0:30:570:31:00

because owning a boat entails so much hard work

0:31:000:31:03

keeping it shipshape, you barely have time to sail it.

0:31:030:31:06

Boating's not all about sipping gin and tonic.

0:31:070:31:10

Running aground on a mud bank is a constant risk.

0:31:100:31:13

And when happens, it's tempting to get on with a bit of marine DIY,

0:31:130:31:17

otherwise known as bottom scraping.

0:31:170:31:21

But today that's gone badly wrong.

0:31:220:31:24

This boat owner is trapped underneath its hull.

0:31:240:31:28

And it's airborne.

0:31:280:31:29

It's a boat-related incident, so it's on that river, is it?

0:31:300:31:33

-That's where I've marked it, near there.

-OK.

0:31:330:31:36

Yeah, we've just been called to the south of Gainsborough

0:31:360:31:39

where a female's been involved in a boating accident

0:31:390:31:42

and gone underneath the boat,

0:31:420:31:44

and now has got some neck, head and back injuries.

0:31:440:31:48

The accident has happened on the River Trent,

0:31:490:31:52

very close to one of the Trent Valley power stations.

0:31:520:31:55

And that means problems for pilot Andy Lister.

0:31:550:31:58

Right, I have got some wires around, haven't I?

0:31:590:32:02

So we'll have to keep an eye on them.

0:32:020:32:04

I've got the ones crossing the river down to the right.

0:32:040:32:07

Andy wants to get the helicopter down as close as possible,

0:32:070:32:10

but he's surrounded by high-voltage pylons.

0:32:100:32:13

I've got a boat tied up on the side.

0:32:140:32:16

You have the wires right where we probably want to land.

0:32:160:32:19

I've got the big ones.

0:32:190:32:21

Big ones, set down there, set down there, and big ones there.

0:32:210:32:24

Do you want me to it put down in this field, and you hop over the fence?

0:32:240:32:28

More wires to negotiate first.

0:32:300:32:32

A specialist fire brigade river rescue team have already arrived

0:32:330:32:36

and are in the water trying to free the boat's owner.

0:32:360:32:40

We've sent members of our urban search and rescue team

0:32:400:32:43

with specialist equipment across to the boat.

0:32:430:32:46

The hidden dangers of this section of the River Trent

0:32:460:32:50

are well known to locals.

0:32:500:32:53

This is called the Martin Rack, and even though

0:32:530:32:55

when it's covered with water it is only about two-feet deep,

0:32:550:32:58

So, of course, both boats bottomed out.

0:32:580:33:00

As the Helimed paramedics arrive,

0:33:020:33:04

the river rescue team manage to pull

0:33:040:33:06

their patient out from under his cruiser.

0:33:060:33:08

He has crush injuries, a serious head wound, and is in great pain.

0:33:080:33:13

I noticed this guy in question was using the opportunity,

0:33:130:33:17

while the boat was out of water, to clean it.

0:33:170:33:20

It's literally sitting on its keel.

0:33:200:33:22

Then I just saw the boat flop over on its side.

0:33:220:33:25

MAN CRIES OUT IN PAIN

0:33:250:33:27

Paramedic Ben Anderson begins treating 51-year-old Steve Courtney.

0:33:270:33:32

Do you want it now?

0:33:320:33:33

He needs a special splint for his crushed pelvis.

0:33:330:33:37

Can you get me the pelvic splint out of the cupboard

0:33:370:33:40

and I'll meet you at the fence.

0:33:400:33:42

And morphine to kill the pain.

0:33:420:33:44

-We're giving him another five and then we'll have to ring.

-Yeah.

0:33:440:33:48

Ben has given his patient the maximum amount

0:33:480:33:52

of morphine a paramedic can give.

0:33:520:33:55

But it still hasn't killed the pain.

0:33:550:33:56

But they have to get him off the river tow path

0:33:560:33:59

and on his way to hospital.

0:33:590:34:01

The fire brigade have thought ahead

0:34:010:34:03

and make the journey as easy as possible.

0:34:030:34:06

He'd been trapped for quite a while

0:34:060:34:08

underneath the boat.

0:34:080:34:09

The fire service has been able to release him.

0:34:090:34:11

We've given him the maximum amount of morphine we can.

0:34:110:34:14

We're getting permission for more.

0:34:140:34:16

'You've been authorised to give

0:34:160:34:19

'another ten milligram's of morphine if need be,

0:34:190:34:22

'authorised by Dr Reedy at Lincoln County. Over.'

0:34:220:34:26

We're allowed to give 20 milligram's of morphine autonomously.

0:34:260:34:30

Above and beyond that,

0:34:300:34:31

it's down to the discretion of the receiving hospital.

0:34:310:34:33

We can ask their permission. If they're happy with it,

0:34:330:34:36

they give us permission to give an extra dose of morphine.

0:34:360:34:41

He's had 30 milligrams and it's quieted him down now.

0:34:410:34:44

One of the things we have to watch out for

0:34:440:34:46

when giving that amount of morphine

0:34:460:34:48

is that his resps don't drop too much.

0:34:480:34:50

After an initial assessment in Lincoln,

0:34:510:34:54

Steve's injuries proved so serious,

0:34:540:34:56

he was transferred to a bone specialist in Nottingham.

0:34:560:34:59

-How are you?

-Fine. You?

-Very well.

-Good to see you.

0:34:590:35:02

Two months later, trauma surgeon Darren Ford has a progress report.

0:35:020:35:07

If one looks at the model here,

0:35:070:35:10

this part of your pelvis has been pulled apart

0:35:100:35:14

and has broken through the centre part here on the side.

0:35:140:35:18

Steve's pelvis is held together with bolts and plates.

0:35:180:35:21

They've done their job well.

0:35:210:35:24

The pelvic region itself is absolutely A1, so that's good news.

0:35:240:35:29

Been to see the physiotherapist for the first time,

0:35:290:35:32

they've given me some tortuous exercises to do.

0:35:320:35:36

But everything's looking really good

0:35:390:35:41

and if I can get rid of the pain coming through my foot

0:35:410:35:45

I'll be playing on the right wing next week.

0:35:450:35:48

So Steve is on the long walk to recovery,

0:35:480:35:50

but after all he's been through, you may not be surprised to hear

0:35:500:35:54

he's decided to sell his river cruiser.

0:35:540:35:56

Gardening is the UK's most popular form of DIY,

0:36:000:36:04

and mowing the lawn is the chore most likely to land you in hospital.

0:36:040:36:08

Today, Helimed 99 has been scrambled

0:36:120:36:14

to the victim of a gardening incident in North Yorkshire.

0:36:140:36:18

There's an ambulance by the house.

0:36:180:36:21

79 year old Joan Sidney is being cared for by a local ambulance crew.

0:36:220:36:27

Several of her fingers have been severed.

0:36:270:36:30

-How we doing?

-You all right?

-Very good.

-How's you?

0:36:330:36:37

-Not too bad. How are you lot?

-This is Joan.

-Hiya, Joan.

0:36:370:36:41

-Explain what's happened.

-Hi.

-Hi, Joan, sweetheart.

0:36:410:36:45

-Joan's been doing her lawnmower.

-I've seen it in the garden.

0:36:450:36:48

She's got her hand in. She's cut into the hand.

0:36:480:36:51

I was going to cut mine tomorrow, but I'll give it a miss.

0:36:510:36:53

The paramedics are hoping surgeons can re-attach Joan's lost fingers.

0:36:530:36:58

They're now on ice.

0:36:580:36:59

The longer the fingers are detached,

0:36:590:37:02

the less chance they can be successfully re-implanted.

0:37:020:37:05

It looks like the lawnmower's cut through part of that wrist

0:37:050:37:09

so we need to go to James Cook up at Middlesbrough.

0:37:090:37:12

They've got clever doctors who'll probably be able to put it back on.

0:37:120:37:15

But there's problem. Helimed 99 is behind the locked gates

0:37:150:37:20

of a school sports field. They desperately need them opened.

0:37:200:37:23

We might have to do the lock on the door.

0:37:230:37:26

But the police have the answer.

0:37:270:37:30

The gate's up, sweetheart.

0:37:360:37:38

At last, Joan is on her way to hospital.

0:37:400:37:42

The lady had put her hand into a lawnmower and it severed the hand

0:37:430:37:48

so I was just trying to stop the bleeding and get her comfortable

0:37:480:37:52

in the trolley and try to get her sorted out for you guys.

0:37:520:37:55

Got the big trees to your left.

0:37:580:38:00

Plastic surgeons at the James Cook Hospital

0:38:030:38:05

in Middlesbrough are on standby.

0:38:050:38:07

Within minutes of her arrival, she's in the care of a surgeon.

0:38:070:38:11

Sadly, her fingers were too badly damaged to re-attach.

0:38:110:38:16

The good news is, Joan's thumb was saved.

0:38:160:38:19

I decided I'd spend the day gardening.

0:38:190:38:23

I'd almost completed the mowing.

0:38:230:38:25

I released the bit of grass

0:38:250:38:28

and the whole thing came round, quickly.

0:38:280:38:31

Very quickly.

0:38:310:38:33

And consequently...

0:38:330:38:35

But thank God for the air ambulance.

0:38:360:38:38

Thank God for that.

0:38:380:38:40

The dangers of doing it yourself.

0:38:430:38:45

Let's get back to the story of Joyce,

0:38:450:38:48

the elderly lady whose heart attack came at the worst possible time,

0:38:480:38:52

in the snowbound Yorkshire Dales.

0:38:520:38:54

At Teesside Airport, Helimed 99's been forced down by a blizzard

0:38:560:39:00

that blocked its flight to hospital in Middlesbrough.

0:39:000:39:03

Get out the barbecue. Looks like we're not going out tonight.

0:39:030:39:07

90 year old Joyce Thompson has suffered a heart attack

0:39:070:39:10

and desperately needs surgery to relieve a blocked artery.

0:39:100:39:13

-But she's staying cheerful.

-Have you had your dinner?

0:39:160:39:19

-Not yet! I was just going to have it when this call came in.

-Oh, dear.

0:39:190:39:23

You've got to have a certain degree

0:39:230:39:25

of visibility to move, but as you can see

0:39:250:39:28

there's nowhere to go at the moment.

0:39:280:39:31

-Have you got something for your head?

-I have. I've got a hat.

0:39:350:39:39

-A beanie.

-Yeah!

0:39:400:39:41

Now Joyce must endure a road journey to James Cook hospital

0:39:440:39:47

through an early rush hour created by the sudden blizzard.

0:39:470:39:51

Time is not on her side.

0:39:510:39:54

At least a land ambulance has arrived quickly.

0:39:540:39:57

-Hiya, mate. Thanks for coming.

-No problem.

-Thank you.

0:39:590:40:02

This is Joyce, 90, no pain, no anaesthesia, she's not wanted any.

0:40:020:40:09

Although Joyce is remarkably stable, her rescuers know

0:40:100:40:13

her condition could deteriorate at any time.

0:40:130:40:16

Dear me, how disgraceful!

0:40:160:40:18

It's a good job it's misty.

0:40:190:40:21

It's a good job you're all gentlemen.

0:40:220:40:26

Swing your legs round.

0:40:260:40:28

Joyce is on her way to treatment at last.

0:40:290:40:33

James, Tony and Steve must seek shelter with the neighbours.

0:40:330:40:36

The Great North Air Ambulance has also been grounded,

0:40:360:40:40

which means the kettle's on.

0:40:400:40:41

I've been invited

0:40:410:40:43

into the Great North Air Ambulance operations room,

0:40:430:40:45

hoping the weather's going to clear.

0:40:450:40:48

We're just waiting, looking at the weather

0:40:480:40:52

and deciding what plan B is to get us home.

0:40:520:40:56

We don't know whether we'll be able to fly back,

0:40:560:40:58

or maybe a taxi, or maybe we'll be stuck up here.

0:40:580:41:01

The Helimed team pride themselves on getting through.

0:41:010:41:04

They may be smiling, but their thoughts are with their patient.

0:41:040:41:09

It's the next day by the time the weather's cleared sufficiently

0:41:090:41:12

for Helimed 99 to return to base.

0:41:120:41:15

Meanwhile, at James Cook Hospital,

0:41:170:41:20

Joyce is recovering after angioplasty,

0:41:200:41:23

a procedure to open out a blocked blood vessel in her heart.

0:41:230:41:26

And a few days later, she's back home in Wensleydale.

0:41:260:41:29

I was at a friend's meeting house. I'm a Quaker.

0:41:310:41:35

I was just sitting quietly, thinking about the poor souls

0:41:350:41:40

who'd fallen on the ice and hurt themselves.

0:41:400:41:43

One minute I'm thinking about people who've broken their femurs

0:41:430:41:48

and the next I'm poorly myself!

0:41:480:41:52

Joyce was a wartime WAF and she loves flying.

0:41:520:41:56

She won't be forgetting her flight in a hurry.

0:41:560:41:59

Looking out the window, it was like a greyish haze

0:41:590:42:03

with a few black marks here and there

0:42:030:42:06

where the fences and walls were for the fields.

0:42:060:42:11

I couldn't resist looking out until Tony pressed me down.

0:42:130:42:17

You'll let me know if you get any pain or anything, won't you?

0:42:170:42:20

'It was his kindly smile, an encouraging smile.

0:42:200:42:26

'I couldn't hear anything with these great what-nots on my ears.'

0:42:260:42:31

I felt confident. Actually, the whole way through, I felt puzzled.

0:42:310:42:39

It was a bit bewildering.

0:42:390:42:40

But I never had any doubt about where I was going.

0:42:400:42:45

It was only afterwards, when people stopped milling about,

0:42:450:42:49

I thought, "Ooh, I wonder..."

0:42:490:42:52

Despite the drawbacks of living in one of the UK's most remote valleys,

0:42:520:42:56

Joyce has no plans to move out of Wensleydale.

0:42:560:43:00

I'm delighted to tell you Joyce has now fully recovered

0:43:010:43:04

and is looking forward to another Dales' winter.

0:43:040:43:07

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:210:43:24

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:240:43:26

Rav Wilding follows the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Helimed 99 is grounded by blizzards - but their patient is suffering from a heart attack. An elderly gardener has a serious accident with a lawn mower.


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