Brave farmer hails air medics

A FARMER walked through the doors of a village doctor’s surgery after puncturing his lung on a tractor spike.

Dennis Bowman, who farms between Renwick and Croglin near Kirkoswald, sustained life-threatening chest injuries when a grab spike from his tractor loader pierced his chest.

Mr Bowman, who was carrying out maintenance on the machinery at the time, was thrown to the ground by the impact, but not before the ten inch spike had broken his rib and punctured his lung, leaving an open cavity on his chest.

He was working on his own at the time but somehow managed to pick himself off the floor and alert his wife, Barbara.

“I’m glad I got to my feet there and then,” the 69-year-old said. “If I hadn’t, I’m not sure I would have been able to after a couple of minutes.”

He was able to get a lift to the doctor’s surgery in Kirkoswald and astounded the local GP by walking through the door despite his extensive injuries.

A North West Ambulance Service paramedic was on scene but it was clear that Dennis needed flying to the nearest major trauma centre, which is Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service is based nearby in Langwathby and their team arrived within a few minutes. Dr Theo Weston, of GNAAS, assessed Mr Bowman and administered advanced pain relief before the grandfather of eight was airlifted to Newcastle.

The whole ordeal was captured by a television production company who spent last summer embedded with GNAAS. The footage was shown as part of the ten part series, Emergency Helicopter Medics, now available on Channel 4’s on demand service, All 4.

Mr Bowman paid tribute to all those who played a part in his recovery.

“People don’t realise just how much difference the air ambulance makes,” he said. “I know the ambulance paramedic and she said by road it would have taken about an hour and a half, but we were there in about 15 minutes.

“The staff at the hospital were brilliant as well. There was a whole team waiting for me and I was being scanned in just a few minutes. I can’t thank them all enough.”

Within a week of coming out of hospital, Mr Bowman was back doing light work around the farm, with neighbours stepping in to help with more labour-intensive jobs.

“That’s just what happens round here,” he said, thanking members of the community who had rallied round to help.

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