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Time is critical to save lives like Giles’

Time is critical to save lives like Giles’

"KSS saved my husband Giles in November 2020, when he suffered an aortic dissection: a tear in the main artery carrying blood from his heart. It was so sudden and was the scariest time of our lives." - Chris Phillips

He made a loud, peculiar noise. I thought he was choking or having a stroke, and although conscious, he was agitated, confused and distressed. I called 999 for an ambulance right away, but when I was told the Air Ambulance  was also on its way, I knew it was really serious. After the local emergency services arrived, plus the doctor and paramedic from KSS, there were more than 12 emergency workers in the house, with equipment laid out everywhere.

Giles and Max meeting HEMS Paramedic Dave Griffiths

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Speed was critical to keep Giles’ heart beating, keep oxygen reaching his brain and keep him alive until heart surgery

When patients like Giles need life-saving care, support from people like you helps KSS get to the scene quickly, even at night. We were one of the first Air Ambulances to invest in helicopters equipped with specialist night- vision equipment and now, with many years of training and experience behind them, our pilots can safely fly and land at night right across Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

The local ambulance and fire services were already on site to help us reach Giles quickly and give us their assessment of his condition. Giles was very unstable, so we quickly worked through possible diagnoses for his symptoms. On balance, the safest option was to take him by road to King’s College Hospital in London for life-saving surgery.

Dr Matthew Vale, KSS Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Doctor

Thanks to the medical expertise and specialist drugs we carry, we were able to give Giles immediate pain relief. We were also able to keep his blood pressure and heart rate stable after it dropped to a dangerously low level.
Vitally, we gave him oxygen to keep him breathing and protect him from brain injury. Giles’ aortic dissection is a relatively rare condition where the chances of survival worsen with time, so speed and our medical expertise
were crucial to saving his life.

Dr Matthew Vale, KSS Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Doctor

Your support helped us reach Giles quickly, even in the early hours of the morning

Dr Matthew Vale, KSS Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Doctor

Saving lives when every second counts

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