A 13-year-old boy and his family have been reunited with the Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (AAKSS) team who saved his life in September after he’d been hit by a car while riding his bike.
Billy McLaren, who lives in Lordswood, and his parents and younger sister visited the AAKSS base at Rochester Airport and met members of the crew who were involved in the mission to stabilise his condition and then take him for specialist treatment at King’s College Hospital, London.
The Greenacre school pupil was out cycling with friends on a Sunday afternoon when a car struck him as he was crossing Wayfield Road in Chatham, causing severe injuries to the right hand side of his body and head.
An NHS ambulance crew took the injured teenager to Rochester Airport where they rendezvoused with an AAKSS emergency medical crew. They had been flown in to take over Billy’s treatment and stayed with him as he was bluelighted by road to London, accompanied by his father Michael McLaren.
Suffering severe lacerations, a broken leg, a fractured skull and damage to his frontal lobe, Billy had reduced levels of consciousness on the journey and the AAKSS team had to intubate him to protect his airways and breathing. He was put into an induced coma by AAKSS to minimise the impact of his head injuries.
His mother, Karina Ridley, paid tribute to everyone who was involved in saving her son, who is now back at home recovering from his injuries after three weeks in hospital.
She said: “We are so grateful to everyone who helped save my son’s life – from the unknown person who put him in the recovery position to the NHS ambulance crew who first responded and the air ambulance doctor and paramedics who took over his treatment and saved his life before getting him specialist help from the trauma team at King’s College Hospital.
“The AAKSS team were just amazing and incredibly kind to us. I am so grateful to them because without their help, I don’t believe Billy would be here today.”