Graham’s Story

The Critical Care Team Vehicle was one of the first on scene and treated Graham before he was taken to hospital.

On Sunday 22nd April 2018, Mel Earl woke feeling poorly. She was meant to be joining her husband, Graham, on a ride out with his motorbike group, but decided it would be better to stay home and rest.

“Little did we know that it would be a blessing in disguise” said Graham.

Graham headed to Mudeford to meet his biker group and he and 25 riders set off early, heading towards the New Forest. It was a regular meet up and a chance to ride out with friends.

The motorcyclists were making their way through Fordingbridge when tragedy struck.
Mel told us “The scene report shows Graham had run over a nail at some point during the ride. It was lodged in his front tyre. Witnesses say he started to veer out of control – into the path of an oncoming van.”

Graham struck the van at approximately 40mph. But the accident wasn’t over. He was thrown from his bike, back into the path of his friends, who had very little time to react. Graham was run over by another biker. Two more bikers were down, and everyone came to a stop.

Mel continued “I was supposed to be a passenger on the back of his bike that day. Things could have been very different for us and our families. Friends describe the scene as a warzone or a movie set. Like it wasn’t real. They couldn’t believe what had happened or what they were seeing in front of them.”

People rushed from their cars to Graham and his friends.

Police and ambulance crews arrived within minutes. The Air Ambulance Critical Care Team Vehicle was one of the first to arrive on the scene and the Team quickly began treating Graham.

Graham was unconscious and has no memory of the accident or of the days after. He was taken to University Hospital Southampton. Scans and x-rays revealed that he had completely shattered his left shoulder, punctured a lung, broken six ribs, his cheekbone and nose.

Mel remembers “I woke up to hundreds of missed calls and messages. I knew instantly that something was wrong. I finally got through to a friend, when police knocked on the front door.”

Graham spent a week in hospital before returning home. He told us “I feel so lucky to be here. I was wearing Kevlar leather jeans and my leather biker jacket, but despite everything, I still had some pretty nasty cuts to my legs. It would’ve been so much worse if I had been wearing something different. I don’t know how things would have been if it weren’t for the exceptional treatment I received by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance Critical Care Team at the roadside. I’m still recovering now. I’ve been told it could take a year for my shoulder to recover, so it’s a long road ahead, but I’m looking forward to getting back out on a bike.”

Graham and Mel recently met the Critical Care Team at the Charity offices and saw the kit that is carried inside the vehicle.

Mel said “I hadn’t realised just how much equipment the Team carry with them. It makes such a big difference to the patients that they treat, and it saves lives. I am so grateful that they were there for Graham.”

The same equipment is carried on board the Critical Care Team Vehicle as on the Air Ambulance. Both are staffed by Specialist Critical Care paramedics and doctors, delivering the same level of care that you would expect from a hospital emergency department.

Graham told us “It was fantastic to meet the Team, shake their hands and say thanks. We are planning some fundraising events soon to help raise much needed funds for this vital service.”