MAN pays tribute to GNAAS after Lake District walking accident


A MAN has paid tribute to the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) who came to the rescue of his wife after a walking accident in the Lake District. The tranquillity of Rod Coombs and Karen Luker’s lakeside walk was shattered when a fall rendered Mrs Luker incapacitated and in severe pain. With no phone signal to raise the alarm, Mr Coombs, 63, deputy president of the University of Manchester, had to run to the nearby village of Buttermere to call 999. When he knew emergency services were on their way he returned to his wife, who was being comforted by two passersby, to tell her the ambulance was on its way. Mr Coombs, who lives in Wilmslow, Cheshire, then ran back to Buttermere and waited at the Bridge Hotel for the ambulance to arrive until he heard the sound of the helicopter and realised GNAAS had been called to the scene. GNAAS landed in a field just 100 metres from the patient and the onboard doctor and paramedic assessed the situation and treated Mrs Luker, 61, on scene. Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team helped to stretcher the patient to the waiting air ambulance. Mrs Luker, the dean of the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work at the University of Manchester, was airlifted to Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle with suspected spinal injuries. Mr Coombs said: “There was fear the fall had impacted directly on her spine and she was unable to move. “The emergency teams tried to keep her as still as possible.

A MAN has paid tribute to the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) who came to the rescue of his wife after a walking accident in the Lake District.

The tranquillity of Rod Coombs and Karen Luker’s lakeside walk was shattered when a fall rendered Mrs Luker incapacitated and in severe pain.

With no phone signal to raise the alarm, Mr Coombs, 63, deputy president of the University of Manchester, had to run to the nearby village of Buttermere to call 999.

When he knew emergency services were on their way he returned to his wife, who was being comforted by two passersby, to tell her the ambulance was on its way.

Mr Coombs, who lives in Wilmslow, Cheshire, then ran back to Buttermere and waited at the Bridge Hotel for the ambulance to arrive until he heard the sound of the helicopter and realised GNAAS had been called to the scene.

GNAAS landed in a field just 100 metres from the patient and the onboard doctor and paramedic assessed the situation and treated Mrs Luker, 61, on scene.

Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team helped to stretcher the patient to the waiting air ambulance.

Mrs Luker, the dean of the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work at the University of Manchester, was airlifted to Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle with suspected spinal injuries.

Mr Coombs said: “There was fear the fall had impacted directly on her spine and she was unable to move.

“The emergency teams tried to keep her as still as possible. The speed of their response was remarkable and it was clear the teams knew exactly what they were doing, we are in full admiration of their work.”

The incident happened on Saturday, October 19th. Fortunately, although Mrs Luker had suffered a lot of bruising, she was found not to have sustained bone damage and she was able to leave hospital the next day to continue her recovery.

Mr Coombs added: “The Great North Air Ambulance’s response and that of the mountain rescue team got us out of a very distressing and worrying situation and we would not have been able to cope without them.”

Mandy Drake, head of fundraising at GNAAS said: “Having a doctor on board means we bring the accident and emergency department to many remote parts of the region. We are extremely pleased that Mrs Luker is doing well and would like to thank the mountain rescue team for their valuable assistance.”

To find out more about the charity visit www.greatnorthairambulance.co.uk

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