Death-cheat miner backs Sheffield hospital helipad plan

Doncaster's Civic Mayor Councillor Pat Haith, Richard Hodgkinson and Mayor's Consort Alan Haith at the helipad launch
Doncaster's Civic Mayor Councillor Pat Haith, Richard Hodgkinson and Mayor's Consort Alan Haith at the helipad launch
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A miner left fighting for his life after a burst pipe sliced eight inches into his body in an underground accident is backing a Sheffield hospital helipad appeal.

Richard Hodgkinson, aged 52, is backing the campaign to raise funds for a new helipad at the city’s Northern General Hospital - the service which helped to save his life after the accident at Hatfield Colliery, near Doncaster, last summer.

Mr Hodgkinson was injured after a hydraulic pipe burst and cut into his body, knocking him off his feet, leaving him struggling to breathe and in need of life-saving surgery.

The accident happened five miles underground.

Dad-of-two Richard said: “My life was in the hands of the emergency services that day and if they hadn’t got me to the Northern General so quickly I wouldn’t be here now as I was deteriorating fast.

“It took about an hour to get me out of the mine as I was so far underground, so if I’d had to endure a land ambulance transfer, which would have taken about 50 minutes, I simply wouldn’t have made it.”

It took just eight minutes to get Richard to the Northern General in the helicopter and then almost the same again to transfer him by land ambulance up to the hospital’s A&E department.

Richard, who still suffers a lot of pain from his accident and cannot walk long distances unaided, said: “I was still conscious when we landed and I remember being transferred to a waiting ambulance to take me to the emergency room.

“I could feel every bump and it was just so painful.

“One of the paramedics later told me I was one of the most critically injured patients she had ever seen and I survived against all the odds. I’m truly thankful to every one of them. You never think it’s going to happen to you, but the reality is it could be you or someone you love. That’s why I’m supporting the Sheffield Helipad Appeal.”

Saving Time, Saving Lives, has been launched by Sheffield Hospitals Charity to raise funds to build a new helipad close to the A&E department at the hospital.

The new helipad will mean patients like Richard, from Mansfield Woodhouse, who require life-saving treatment can be transferred to the major trauma centre within seconds of landing, saving valuable time, as every second can be crucial with serious injuries.

At present, air ambulances must land on a ‘secondary helipad’ built more than 20 years ago – and located so far from the casualty unit it means passengers have to be transferred into another vehicle to be driven there.

The project will cost about £2 million to complete– £585,000 of which still needs to be raised.

* To find out more about the Sheffield Helipad Appeal or to make a donation visit: Sheffield Helipad or call Sheffield Hospitals Charity on 0114 271 1351. You can donate £5 by texting HELIPAD10 to 70660.

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