Adam’s Story

The Air Ambulance can be anywhere in Hampshire within 15 minutes and the Isle of Wight in 20 minutes, and carries a highly skilled team of HEMS paramedics and doctors on board. On 10th August 2016, the speed at which the Air Ambulance arrived with its doctor led crew to a serious road traffic collision on the A34 was crucial to the survival of patient Adam Pearson. The team was able to administer life-saving pre-hospital care to Adam at the scene and stabilise him before taking him to hospital. Here he tells us his story.

My name is Adam Pearson, and I am alive because of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.

Early in the morning of 11th August 2016, I gradually emerged from the void of anaesthesia to see the hectic environment of a hospital emergency department and recovery room. Through my haze, I was told that there had been a road traffic accident, that I had been airlifted to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and that I had spent the last few hours in surgery.

Anaesthetic takes away shock and panic, so I reacted with remarkable calm. Although I had no memory of any accident, I established that I had been in the car alone, and therefore that my wife and children were safe.

And with that, I took a sip of water and embarked upon a process of recovery which still continues today. I had no idea how lucky I’d been.

Some hours earlier, on a fine summer’s evening, on the northbound A34 between East Ilsley and West Ilsley, I’d come to a halt at the back of a queue of traffic.

At 5:13pm, a heavy goods vehicle approached the back of the queue. The driver was changing music on his mobile phone, and looked up when 22 metres away from my car.

Unable to react in time, he crashed into the rear of my car at 51mph.

Dashcam footage later showed that thankfully, in the split second before impact, I had turned the car to the left, evidently aware of what was about to happen. This slight but significant movement caused my car to be pushed towards the grass verge and launched into the air after impact with the van in front, landing on the roof in the ditch by the side of the road.

The dashcam footage shows that it took only a few seconds for my car to accelerate from zero to 51mph and come crashing back to rest again.

I’d suffered multiple injuries. An aortic rupture, five thoracic spinal fractures, 19 broken ribs, a collapsed lung and multiple lacerations. I was bleeding heavily both internally and externally, and was in desperate need of medical intervention.

The emergency services were called, and I’m here to tell the story because Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance was able to attend.

I later discovered that aortic rupture has a 90% mortality rate, and of those, 75% die at the scene due to internal bleeding and consequential loss of blood pressure. Of all road traffic accident deaths, 18% are related to aortic rupture, an injury often associated with sudden deceleration.

The Air Ambulance doctor and paramedics, alongside the land paramedics cut me free from the car and I was sedated and transfused with blood before being flown to the nearest major trauma centre by the Air Ambulance. Subsequent discussions with doctors left me in no doubt that the emergency care that I received at the roadside, together with the speed with which I was transferred to hospital and presented for surgery, saved my life.

I have no memory of my interaction with the Air Ambulance service, but I’ll be forever grateful for what they did for me that day. Because of their commitment, professionalism and skill, I’m hoping to make a full recovery and I’m fortunate enough to be able to look forward to a future with my family.

From the bottom of my heart I want to say ‘thank you’ to the Air Ambulance.

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