We’re asking the public to support our Christmas Appeal, to keep us at the frontline of saving lives.
Thames Valley Air Ambulance has launched its 2019 Christmas Appeal to help raise the vital funds urgently needed to continue providing advanced medical care to the communities in the Thames Valley and beyond.
The charity is hoping to raise £60,000 which could pay for seventeen emergency missions, the same number we were dispatched to last year on Christmas Day and Boxing Day combined.
Unfortunately, the Harvey family know all too well how valuable the service is. In November last year, the unthinkable happened to Karen and Chris Harvey when their fit and healthy 22-year-old son Scott’s heart stopped at the gym. With Scott in a life-threatening condition, our emergency crew were dispatched.
Only seven to eight percent of patients who have suffered a cardiac arrest live to be discharged from hospital. With the odds against Scott, he needed advanced medical care to be in with a fighting chance of survival. He desperately needed the hospital- level care our highly trained crew provide.
Paramedic Jo Meadham, paramedic James Perks and doctor Simon Brown were dispatched in minutes and arrived by helicopter to be at Scott’s side.
Remembering Scott’s incident, paramedic Jo said: “Whilst flying to Scott, we knew he was really poorly. We rarely attend patients whose hearts have stopped who are Scott’s age. Thankfully, the staff at the gym gave him brilliant first aid by using a defibrillator which restarted his heart. This meant that we could immediately begin the treatment Scott so desperately needed.”
At this stage, Scott was visibly agitated. Although he was moving and his eyes were open, he wasn’t responding to the crew. He was rolling on the floor whilst desperately trying to take his oxygen mask off. This frantic movement restricted the oxygen being pumped to his heart, putting him at further risk of another cardiac arrest.
To prevent Scott’s condition from deteriorating and to get him safely to hospital our crew had to act quickly. Jo added: “The risk of Scott’s heart stopping again was real so we made the decision to sedate him which also allowed us to safely transport him to hospital. Having the ability to sedate patients like Scott means we can ensure we can manage further complications whilst on route to hospital, including further cardiac arrests. It’s just one of the ways in which we are able to help people whose lives hang in the balance – and give them the very best chance of recovery.”
At the time Scott’s heart stopped, his parents were more than five hours drive away completely unsuspecting of their son’s critical condition.
Reflecting on Scott’s traumatic incident his father Chris said: “There is no way I can explain the depth of despair my wife and I felt receiving the call that our fit, healthy, sporty, kind and caring son was critically ill, 320 miles away having suffered a cardiac arrest.”
Chris added: “In our son’s desperate hour of need an amazing group of people came together to save his life. Thanks to Thames Valley Air Ambulance, we still have our son, and exactly as we know and love him. If it wasn’t for this incredible charity, we would have lived the rest of our lives with the darkest painful void without the actions of the team that saved our precious son.”
We’re now asking the public to donate to help keep more families, like the Harveys, together for many more Christmases to come. We do not receive any government funding and rely entirely on the kindness and generosity of our supporters.