Living in such a rural area, with all major hospitals over 60 miles away with mountains and valleys, rivers and coast and moors between us and them, the Wales Air Ambulance is a necessity not a luxury!
Wales is a truly scenic area, but with towns, villages, farms and cottages widely scattered all over such a diverse landscape of mountains, valley's and coast, sometimes it isn't possible to get to locations by road or even if it is accessible by road, it would take too long. Not to mention several mountains including Snowdon and Cader Idris which are popular for walkers and climbers, plus the increasing problem of traffic congestion and collisions and the fact that each summer the amount of traffic and people in North Wales grows as people flock to our shores to visit the beach and to discover our beautiful scenery for themselves!
Each week I read in our local paper of rescue's where the Air Ambulance has gotten people to hospital in 10-15 minutes instead of the hour it would take by road ambulance. It has been often published that a patient's chances of survival and earlier and easier recovery are increased if they receive the right care within the first hour, otherwise known as the Golden Hour. The quick response times and the expert medical care provided by the Wales Air Ambulance crews across Wales ensures that this Golden Hour is achieved every time!
There are three helimed crews based in Wales, one in the North (Caernarfon) one in Mid (Welshpool) and one in the South (Swansea).This means that each helicopter can be launched within 3 minutes of receiving an emergency call and from these airbases a helicopter can be anywhere in Wales within 20 minutes! Each crew has one pilot and two advanced life support paramedics who are trained in the latest techniques in pre hospital emergency care to ensure that the patient receives the most effective treatment.
But whilst Air Ambulance is obviously needed and recognised as an emergency service and an essential life saving one at that, it receives no funding from the government and cannot apply for funding through the National Lottery because it is classed as an emergency service. Therefore it relies on the generosity of people through charity donations, fundraising events and membership of their lifesaving lottery.
The Air Ambulance is very close to my heart and neither I or any of my 3 daughters would be here today and my son would have lost his mother at a very young age!
In 2004 I was thrilled to discover I was pregnant again, shortly after my son's 1st birthday. But tragedy struck at 13wks and I miscarried. Unfortunately I also hemoraged and the day is stuck in my memory and I can remember it as though it was yesterday!
I already knew I had miscarried and whilst in hospital I was asked if I wanted a D&C or to let nature take it's course. At the time I just wanted to go home to my son so I was allowed home to make up my mind. The next day I decided I would have the D&C as seeing the blood every time I went to the bathroom was breaking my heart. I phoned up and it was scheduled for the following day and I stood up to put the phone back in its cradle when blood started running down my legs. I went to the bathroom but couldn't get off the toilet because I couldn't stop the bleeding and hubby phoned our local doctor and was told to make my lie down on the bed for an hour and it would stop. I did as I was told, but the bleeding got worse and by now I was passing clots of blood as well and hubby began to panic. He phoned the doctors again and this time the doctor came out to me and even she was shocked by the amount of blood. She gave me an injection in my leg to get my womb to contract and I was told the Air Ambulance was available and would be landing in the local field within minutes. The paramedics carried me downstairs to the waiting ambulance where the doctor started messing around trying to put a cannula in my hand, but couldn't and finally gave up. By now I had heard the helicopter landing and when they went to transfer me all I remember thinking was "I hope the blanket doesn't slip, I don't have any pants on!"
Hubby was upset he couldn't come with me and even offered to lie on top of me so he would fit in, to which my mum quipped "That's how she got in this position in the first place!" So he travelled by car with my mum and son as he didn't drive at the time.
Once inside the helicopter, I must admit I felt sad that I couldn't see out of the window! My first time in one and I couldn't see the scenery from above! I put the headphones on and I felt ok, I was laughing and joking with the pilot and paramedics and they told me how the day before they had rescued a 90 year old man who had gotten out of breath climbing Snowdon!
We arrived at hospital, about 15 minutes after take off and I was taken to casualty. This is where the drama started! Within 5 minutes of arriving, I had excruciating pain in my stomach and I tried to sit up, but this caused me to pass out for the first time in my life! I awoke to find a team around me and cannula's in my elbows and hands! Had I come by road, this would have happened on the way to the hospital and I might not have made it as my blood pressure had dropped dangerously low.
I was then taken to another room, where I could be monitored better and this is where hubby and found me, before I was taken the theatre for an emergency D&C and blood transfusion.
Two weeks later I concieved my eldest daughter and went on to have two more daughters. Without the Air Ambulance neither I or my three daughters would be here, so that day the Air Ambulance saved, not one but four lives!