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Nathan’s Story

I asked them to tell my mum I loved her, I didn’t think I was going to make it

Nathan Welch

In 2022, we were called to 430 serious road traffic collisions, often treating patients with severe and life-changing injuries. Patients like 25-year-old Nathan Welch who was left with 12 broken bones and spent six months in a wheelchair following the smash which he thought would end his life.

This Road Safety Week, Nathan has thanked the critical care paramedics and doctors who helped to save his life in the aftermath of his devastating road traffic collision in 2014. 

Now Nathan, who works in Marlow, is fronting our charity’s first ever Christmas raffle, where every ticket will go on to raise money for patients like him.

Nathan, who lives in Aylesbury, was travelling along the A41 towards Bicester on his way to work after college when what had been an unremarkable day became one he would never forget. He was involved in a head-on collision with a Transit van.

He said: “I knew it was about to happen when I saw these bright lights coming towards me. So I put my arms up to cover my face. After the crash, I came round and told a woman passerby ‘please hurry up and get me out of here, please tell my mum I love her’. I didn’t think I was going to make it – that was such a weird feeling.

“I remember waking up, it wasn’t for long for about 10 seconds. But in those 10 seconds Thames Valley Air Ambulance were there by my side, by my window reassuring me that I was going to be OK. Even though I had the taste of blood in my mouth and I could feel the rain on me, I knew I was going to be OK because they were right next to me.

“When I first realised Thames Valley Air Ambulance were there, I felt a sense of relief. Even though I knew I was in a bad way – I couldn’t see or feel any part of my body – hearing their voices gave me the reassurance I needed.”

Nathan’s quick thinking prevented more serious damage to his eyesight and face but he was seriously injured. He was eventually cut free from the wreckage and taken to John Radcliffe Hospital where he spent two weeks in intensive care, and another four recovering on a ward before he was discharged. Six months of rehabilitation then followed, learning to use a wheelchair and then learning how to walk again.

Nathan added: “I wasn’t able to just get out of bed, go have a shower, go to the toilet or go downstairs. It was hard to come to terms with that at first, I didn’t feel like I did before the crash and it was hard. Over time I used that as motivation to get up and get moving, to go out and see my friends.”

Critical Care Paramedic James Perks said: “Road traffic collisions are the fourth most common call out for our critical care teams. The scene of an incident can often be busy, with several agencies like fire, police and land ambulance crews all working together to rescue those injured.

“Critical care paramedics and doctors bring an advanced level of drugs and equipment to an incident like this, where our skills can make a difference to the kind of injuries often seen as a result of road traffic collisions. But none of this would be possible without the communities we serve helping to keep us on the road and in the skies, delivering pre-hospital emergency medicine to those who need it most.”