Hannah’s tree fall fuels air medic dream

A YOUNG girl said she hopes to become an air paramedic after a fall from a tree left her requiring the help of the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).

Hannah Oakley, 11, from Gosforth, Cumbria, was climbing her favourite tree in her garden on June 17, when she leant on a weak branch which snapped, causing her to fall 15 feet to the ground.

Her friend Katie Kinnear, 12, was with her at the time of the fall and immediately ran to Hannah’s parents to tell them what had happened.

Hannah’s mum Rachel Oakley, 44, said: “Myself and my husband Marc didn’t see her fall, but we saw the aftermath of Katie running towards us and shouting for help.

“We went to the tree and saw Hannah collapsed in a heap on the floor. Initially Katie thought she was dead, but thankfully that was not the case.

“Hannah had hit a large branch on the way down and was winded so she couldn’t talk.

“Her upper body was hurting, including her head, neck and back, so Marc rang 999 straight away, while I held her as she was very shaken.”

Due to the potential for serious injury, the GNAAS doctor-led trauma team was called. They arrived on scene and administered advanced pain relief to Hannah.

Mrs Oakley said: “When the air ambulance arrived I immediately felt a sense of relief, as I know how experienced the GNAAS team are at their job. They dealt with us in such a kind and professional manner and kept the process as smooth as possible. The general care was amazing.”

After assessing and treating Hannah, the GNAAS team airlifted her to Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle. After thorough checks, she was found to have sustained no serious injuries.

Hannah already harboured an ambition to become a paramedic, but the experience has left her wanting to join the aircrew.

She said: “I want to be an air paramedic when I’m older because I like helping people and I also enjoy being in the outdoors. It was really good seeing a real life air paramedic doing his job.”

Hannah and her family this week visited the GNAAS air base at Langwathby to thank Mr Dalton for his help, and Hannah was also able to ask him questions about how to become an air paramedic.

Mr Dalton said: “Hannah was very lucky not to have sustained more serious injuries, so it was great to see her on the base looking so happy and healthy. We don’t have a vacancy for an 11-year-old paramedic, but there may be an opportunity further down the line, if she works hard.”

GNAAS is reliant on public donations to survive. Last year, the service cost around £5m to run, and flew 853 missions across the North-East, North Yorkshire and Cumbria. To find out more, visit www.gnaas.com

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