Chris’ story

“‘The chances are, you’re going to lose your foot.’ In that moment, I was just happy to be alive.”

Sunday 25 June 2023, the team are dispatched by air to 61-year-old property developer Chris. He’s been involved in a motorcycle accident while riding his beloved Yamaha bike. He is critically ill – and bleeding internally.

Chris needs multiple surgeries to save both his life and limbs. Our specialist paramedic and doctor team stabilise Chris and airlift him to University Hospital Southampton.

On Wednesday 1 May, Chris’s story featured on the hit BBC documentary Surgeons: At the Edge of Life. Below, he shares his story.


“It was a beautiful sunny day,” said Chris. “I restored a 1980 Yamaha trails bike that I had as a kid and decided to go for a ride and put a couple more miles on it.”

As he was riding through Cowplain, Waterlooville, Chris crashed into the side of a car that had pulled out in front of him. He flew off his bike and into the windscreen of the car.

“I saw the passenger of the car screaming to stop, but it was too late,” he said. “I don’t remember anything else from that day.”

Chris had an open pelvic fracture, a fractured skull, a broken arm in two places and an open right fracture to his ankle, that was “practically hanging off.” Critically, he was also bleeding internally.

“I was bleeding to death.”

An X-ray showing multiple screws in Chris' ankle.

The ambulance crew transported Chris to a nearby park, so the Air Ambulance had a safe and accessible area to land.

Chris’s blood pressure was dipping so dangerously low his body was starting to fail.

The team gave him two units of blood en route to hospital – a potentially life-saving intervention.

All of Chris’s fractures needed surgery, but first he underwent four hours of keyhole surgery to stop the bleeding from a pelvic artery. One operation down, three more to go.

“I had one surgeon repairing my arm, another surgeon putting a frame on my foot and another one drilling two pins into my side to fix my pelvic bone,” he said.

“The operation on my foot lasted eight hours. The surgeon told me: ‘The chances are, you’re going to lose your foot.’ But at that moment, I was just happy to be alive.

“I spent that night thinking about what my life would be like from now on.”

An ankle post-surgery.

The surgery was a success. Chris spent the next five weeks in hospital until he was finally discharged home, but there was a long road ahead.

“I managed to get a hospital bed in my longue downstairs, where I stayed for four and a half months.”

Chris admits to not wanting to watch the show when it came out, but he eventually sat down to take it all in.

“It’s incredible to watch back in such detail. Very surreal,” he said, “but it’s the weirdest thing.”

With two plates in his right arm, plates in his pelvic area and two six-inch screws in his spine, Chris’ chances of returning to work are in doubt.

“I did around 95% of the work myself: plastering, carpentry, electrics, plumbing. But consequently, I can’t do that anymore. I don’t know what I’m going to be doing. There’s a lot of anxiety around it.

“But I’m alive. If it wasn’t for the team, I wouldn’t be here now. If they hadn’t have picked me up and flown me to hospital, especially as I now know I was bleeding to death, I dread to think… They saved my life.”

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