Walker hails Derbyshire air ambulance for coming to her rescue after nasty fall

A patient who was flown in the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA) has described the charity as ‘an absolute necessity which should get all the money it needs to remain operational – even during the Covid-19 crisis’.

Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 5:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 5:08 pm

Before the current coronavirus restrictions came into force, experienced walker Helen Keats was at the top of Mam Tor hill near Castleton in the Peak District when she slipped on muddy ground.

“I heard something snap and when I looked down my right foot was sticking out at an odd angle,” she said.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Helen Keats has praised Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance for helping her after her fall in the Peak District.

“It was quite apparent that I wasn’t getting up and moving any time soon.”

Helen’s daughter called 999 and used the what3words app on her phone to share their location.

Due to the remote scene, DLRAA and Edale Mountain Rescue Team were deployed to attend the incident.

Helen, 61, who was on a family day out with Amber and her husband Robin, were in good spirits while she waited for help to arrive.

She said: “We were kept updated on the phone about what was happening so we knew they were coming – but when I saw the helicopter in the sky I got emotional.

“It must have been sheer relief.”

The air ambulance landed on the hill above them after the family was asked by the control room to wave to identify themselves.

Shortly afterwards the mountain rescue team arrived at the scene.

Helen had a fracture to her ankle so the air ambulance doctor and critical care paramedic administered strong pain relief medications and applied a vacuum splint to support the injured limb.

“They did a great job and managed to straighten my foot and ankle out, so it looked a lot better,” she said.

With the help of the mountain rescue team volunteers, Helen was carried on a stretcher to the helicopter and loaded on board for the short flight to Northern General Hospital in Sheffield – which took just seven minutes.

Helen’s husband and daughter watched the helicopter take off and then walked back down the hill to their car and drove straight to Sheffield which took them around 90 minutes.

The air ambulance landed on the hospital’s helipad which is just a short walk and trolley push from the main emergency department.

The crew then handed Helen over to the awaiting trauma team.

The following day, Helen underwent an operation to repair the damage to her foot and ankle.

Four days later she was discharged and driven back to her home in Plymouth, sitting in a wheelchair in a specially adapted vehicle.

Five weeks on from the accident – which happened on March 16 – Helen and Robin have nothing but praise for DLRAA.

They said: “The crew were so efficient and very professional.

“They kept us informed and were very reassuring about what was happening.

“They couldn’t have done anything better.

“We would like to thank the air ambulance crew, mountain rescue team and all the kind people who asked if we needed help when we were waiting for the emergency services to arrive.”

They added: “We think that the air ambulance should be paid for and not rely on donations to operate.

“It truly is a lifesaver and deserves to get all the money it needs, even in the current crisis.

“It’s an absolute necessity.”

A spokesperson for DLRAA said: “Missions like Heather's wouldn’t be possible without public support.

“Your local air ambulance is helping to save more lives and the dedicated crews are continuing their lifesaving missions through this difficult coronavirus pandemic – providing vital, critical care support to the NHS.

“To find out more on how you can support your local air ambulance, visit www.theairambulanceservice.org.uk or call 0300 3045 999.”