Woman involved in motorcycle collision reunites with air ambulance doctor

A motorcyclist who suffered a catalogue of injuries in a collision has been reunited with the air ambulance doctor who came to her aid.

Ruth Cork, 36, from Shrewsbury, was riding her motorbike on the A65 near Kirkby Lonsdale, and heading to Devil’s Bridge with her friend, who was on a separate bike, when she was involved in a collision with another vehicle.

She cannot recall the incident, which occurred on 19 August 2022, and broke several bones including her femur, sacrum, jaw, zygoma, skull and pelvis.

She also displaced and crushed a few vertebrae and had a bleed on the brain.

The critical care team from the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), flew to the scene and worked alongside the North West Ambulance Service to assess and treat Ruth.

She was given a blood transfusion by the doctor and paramedic from GNAAS and flown to Royal Preston Hospital in 14 minutes.

Ruth spent seven weeks in hospital and underwent surgery to repair some of her broken bones.

Due to having a job in the military, she was transferred to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Stanford Hall and over a period of 14 weeks she regained the ability to walk again.

She said: “My recovery has been long and challenging, but I’ve had a lot of help through it.

“On the major trauma ward the nurses were fantastic, the doctors were brilliant and the physio’s at Preston got me standing up, and then when I transferred to Stanford Hall, we did a lot more work with hydrotherapy and physio work to get me back to a state of walking.

“It’s been a progression from zimmer frame to crutches to stick to then having no aids at all.”

Ruth initially planned to run the Shrewsbury Half Marathon in October 2022, but due to her injuries she pushed it back to the following year.

She said: “I was still not technically at the point of running, so I decided I would walk, but my competitive streak got ahead of me.

“So a slow jog, walk, run type thing happened and 13.1 miles later I completed it.”

Ruth decided to use the half marathon as an opportunity to raise money for GNAAS and ended up raising more than £1,000 for the charity.

She said: “There were a lot of people that helped me on the route of my recovery and it was Preston that saved my life at the time, but I wouldn’t have got there if it hadn’t been for GNAAS. I think if I had to transfer by road, there was a chance that I might not have quite got there.”

Ruth recently travelled to GNAAS’ base in Langwathby, Penrith and met members of the charity’s critical care team, including Dr Mark Byers, who administered a blood transfusion to Ruth after her motorcycle crash.

She said: “It was a bit surreal coming to the base, as it was coming up the same road that we went down on that day and I recognised the routes.

“I don’t remember the people who helped me so it’s a bit odd and surreal, but it’s very nice to come back and see what the team do, where they’re based and see the kit that they use.”

Ruth has returned to riding a bike and has now set her sights on volunteering for the Blood Bikes, who provide a free out-of-hours medical courier service of blood and related products.

She said: “I am back on a bike, unfortunately for some people, but that’s what I find a zest for life in, and the aim now is to become a blood biker, to give something back to that as well.”

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