North West Air Ambulance Charity launches campaign to extend lifesaving service

THE North West Air Ambulance Charity (NWAA) has launched a fundraising campaign to ensure it can continue its lifesaving care across the region.

The NWAA was called out to 1,132 missions across the county in the last 12 months, and attends many in Greater Manchester, including Tameside.

Leading its appeal to raise the £12 million a year needed to run the service is Doctor Ed, who saved toddler Henry’s life at the roadside after he fell into the path of an oncoming car.

Henry, who was almost two at the time, suffered multiple facial and skull fractures when the car ran over his head, and blood blocked his airways. When the helicopter crew arrived, they found him unresponsive.

Dr Ed said: “Every second counts in cases like this and, without our rapid response, Henry might not have pulled through.”

Toddler Henry meets Dr Ed at the North West Air Ambulance Charity’s air base at Barton, 12 months after the doctor saved his life

At the roadside, Dr Ed performed several emergency interventions, including a blood transfusion, an emergency anaesthetic and chest surgery so Henry was stable enough to be transferred to hospital.

Henry’s dad Rob, from Whitworth near Rochdale, said: “The air ambulance crew saved our little boy’s life. We will be eternally grateful for their service, skills and expertise in being able to act so quickly.”

Last year, the North West Air Ambulance Charity was called to 2,834 lifesaving missions, including 775 road traffic collisions, where the service brought the hospital to the patient.

Dr Ed continued: “Without the North West Air Ambulance Charity, and its kind supporters Henry would possibly have died and his family torn apart.

“As costs continue to rise, it’s imperative we raise the £12 million we need each year to provide the state-of-the-art service we pride ourselves on.

“We get no government funding, and we’re not part of the NHS, so we are turning to the general public who we serve and who value what we do.

North West Air Ambulance – Barton Heliport
Photography – Nick Harrison

“Even the smallest donation will make a difference. With people’s donations, we can continue to be there for them and those closest to them, should they need us in an emergency.”

To help save even more lives, the North West Air Ambulance Charity has increased its crew cover to 12 hours a day. Within the next year, its night car service will operate seven days a week.

Before the end of the year, the charity also plans to carry blood on all three helicopters and its critical care vehicles.

The charity is also establishing a patient after-care service with all of the North West trauma centres. The established working arrangement with Manchester Children’s Hospital was a key factor in Henry’s recovery.

Lifesaving examples of how donations could be spent are:

  • £6 pays for a bougie, which guides a breathing tube into a patient’s airway
  • £17 buys a one-litre portable oxygen canister to help someone with breathing difficulties
  • £25 pays for a warming blanket to regulate the temperature of a severe trauma patient
  • £100 is the cost of a surgical airway kit, crucial in life-threatening situations
  • £380 could supply a primary response bag, carrying vital medical equipment to treat major trauma patients.

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