A woman who required a roadside blood transfusion after being seriously injured in a car crash will feature in a national documentary following the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).
Stephanie Wilkinson, 21, was travelling with her boyfriend to the Metrocentre in Gateshead to book a holiday, when their car collided with another vehicle on the A697, ten miles west of her hometown Whittingham, Alnwick, on September 30 last year.
Miss Wilkinson had sustained significant injuries, including internal bleeding. GNAAS doctor Jo Paterson carried out a roadside blood transfusion, supported by her GNAAS paramedic Andy Dalton and North East Ambulance Service road crew.
She was then airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, with the flight taking 12 minutes.
Miss Wilkinson said: “GNAAS came and I remember doctor Jo keeping me calm when I was trapped in the car. When she laid me down I wouldn’t let go of her hand, and I think I hurt her hand from squeezing it.
“I’d never broken a bone in my life, and then my whole left side was smashed. I broke my pelvis, my breast bone, had a lacerated liver, my spleen was swollen, I punctured my left lung, the top of my arm was broken, a few fingers were broken, and the most serious injury was the bottom of my leg where the bone had come through my skin and shattered in half. My boyfriend just had a scratch.”
Miss Wilkinson was in hospital for two months and had much of her left side rebuilt with metal plates, bolts and nails.
She wasn’t allowed to walk on her left leg for six months due to the bone not healing properly, but after several surgeries Miss Wilkinson is now able to use crutches to assist her when walking, and uses a wheelchair for longer distances.
Miss Wilkinson’s story will be featured in Emergency Helicopter Medics on June 10. The More4 series, shown on Sundays at 9pm, follows the work of GNAAS throughout last summer.
Talking about the Darlington-based charity, Miss Wilkinson said: “I wouldn’t have made it to hospital by road. They were really quick and I owe it to them. They are a great service and everyone should fundraise more for them, they are underappreciated, until something bad happens, people don’t understand how much they need them.”
Miss Wilkinson will be one of the hundreds of guests at the charity’s annual Air Angels Ball which takes place on June 16 at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead.