ROADSIDE blood transfusions have helped to save 18 lives in the North-East and Cumbria. Meet Neil Wilson, one of those who has benefited from the pioneering service.
Neil Wilson was cycling on his way home from work when he sustained catastrophic injuries after he collided with a car.
The father-of-two, from Berwick-Upon-Tweed, suffered a severe head injury, collapsed lung, fractured pelvis and broken arm at the incident which happened as the car made a right turn at the junction of the B6354, near Ford, on September 30.
The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) was called to the scene by road paramedics. The aircrew arrived and anaesthetised Mr Wilson before performing an advanced surgical procedure and administering two units of blood at the roadside.
The 46-year-old, who is secretary at Berwick Wheelers Cycling Club, said: “The aircrew worked on me at the roadside for quite some time before I was ready to be flown to hospital.”
Once stabilised, he was transported to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary within 17 minutes where he arrived in a critical condition.
Mr Wilson spent five weeks in hospital before being transferred to the Walkergate Park rehabilitation centre for a further two weeks.
Mr Wilson: “The fact that GNAAS now carry blood makes a huge difference between life and death.
“Paramedics who were first at the scene have told me that without the air ambulance I wouldn’t be where I am today. The outcome may well have been different.
“Although I still have a way to go, doctors expected my hospital stay to be far longer. They said if I wasn’t so fit, I might not have survived.
“It was a massive shock to all of my family but they have been a huge support. It has been a lot for them to deal with.
“GNAAS are phenomenal and blood is such an important element to the work that they do. No matter how fast the helicopter can go, without blood, life may be lost. It is a huge asset.”
Mr Wilson recently handed over more than £1,700 to the charity that was raised by Berwick Wheelers Cycling Club.