A MAN who was crushed by a baling machine has been called “very lucky” by the air ambulance paramedic who went to his aid.
Peter Deadman’s close call came after he was crushed inside a paper baler at Cumbria Waste Management in Workington while trying to fix the machine on April 5, 2015.
The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) flew to the scene with a doctor and paramedic Terry Sharpe on board.
Mr Sharpe said: “When we arrived, all I could see was an arm and a leg sticking out of the machine. I expected the worst.”
Mr Deadman’s wife, Christine, 56, was at home in High Harrington, when she heard sirens passing her house. Then her phone rang. “It was instinct, I knew,” she said.
Mr Deadman’s son, James, 27, who also worked at the plant was calling to tell her the dreadful news.
“It was surreal,” she said, “you don’t know how you’re going to act in a situation like that until you’re thrown into it but it was like I was on autopilot. It felt like I was looking in at someone else’s life. It’s like you’re totally lost.
“I went down to the plant. When I saw him, paramedics were wheeling him on a stretcher with a foil blanket wrapped around him, which was black on the outside. My initial thought was that it was a body bag. I thought it was over.
“I was given a police escort to the hospital.”
Mr Deadman, 59, who now lives at Greysouthen near Cockermouth, had suffered an open fracture of his arm, a crushed bicep and vein, kidney trauma and a misplaced pelvis.
He said: “My arm was numb. I couldn’t feel anything. As I was being released, I thought one of the paramedics said ‘don’t forget his arm’ so I thought it had come off.”
He was flown to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and spent nearly four hours in the operating theatre, where surgeons carried out procedures including a vein graft. He has two metal plates in his arm with eight screws and pins in his pelvis.
Mr Sharpe said: “When you are crushed, circulation stops and your tissue swells. The dangerous part is when you are released from the crush because the tissue has been deprived of oxygen and toxins flow back into the body which can cause multiple organ failure. It is very painful.
“We gave Peter strong painkillers and fluids to dilute the toxins. We bound his pelvis in a sling and splinted his arm before getting him to hospital for further treatment.
“The call-out sticks in my mind because of its unusual nature. He is a very lucky man.”
The pair have now visited the GNAAS Langwathby airbase to thank Mr Sharpe.
Mrs Deadman, a factory worker at Derwent Pencil Factory, said: “It’s been emotional. If the air ambulance hadn’t got there in the golden hour, things might have been different.
“Without GNAAS, he wouldn’t be here. It’s been amazing to be able to say thanks properly. We are just so grateful.”
Mr Deadman, who works as an Asda delivery driver, said: “GNAAS is the best thing ever. A lot of people would be dead without it.”
Mr Deadman’s son James, and daughter, Caroline Baker, ran the Hastings Half Marathon to raise funds for GNAAS, donating around £600.
GNAAS is celebrating fifteen years as an independent registered charity. To find out how you can help, please visit www.gnaas.com