My name is Lauren, and this is the story of how Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex saved my son Charlie’s life.
He was only eight at the time and just starting to play outside on his own with friends. The day it happened, his dad told him to watch the road on our normally quiet residential street, as always – and kept an eye on him from the window. The next thing I knew, my husband was yelling ‘he’s been hit!’, before running out the door. I saw my son lying in the road, unconscious with blood pouring from his head.
I started to scream. My neighbours called 999 because I couldn’t stop screaming.
Al, from the South East Coast Ambulance Service, was only one motorway exit away so arrived very quickly and was the first paramedic on the scene. Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) dispatcher Carol had been listening in to the 999 call, so the helicopter followed right away.
All of a sudden, I saw Doctor Matt coming towards us. I was still in such a state of shock, that I hadn’t even heard the helicopter land. But in a strange way, Dr Matt’s arrival brought me sharply back to reality. Suddenly I thought ‘that’s the doctor from 24 hours in A&E’ and in that moment I realised how serious our situation was. Later, Al told me he’d never been so pleased to see the KSS doctor.
Charlie’s head injury was severe; his brain was damaged. His pelvis was broken in four places. His right arm had been skinned from being dragged along the road. They put Charlie on a ventilator so he could breathe. The helicopter took him to King’s College Hospital in London within 17 minutes. In his condition, I’m certain Charlie wouldn’t have survived in a normal ambulance. I saw Matt making a phone call and asked who he was calling. He explained it was a code red call to King’s College Hospital, so that staff would be ready to meet us when we landed.