Grandmother stabbed by husband on Boxing Day thanks air ambulance

A grandmother who was stabbed twice by her husband in a near-fatal attack on Boxing Day last year has praised Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance for “saving her life”.

Helen Mclaren, 61 and her husband Ray, 63, were at their home in Gosport when a “discussion about a Christmas card” led to Ray brandishing a kitchen knife from the dishwasher.

“I thought he was going to harm himself, so I told him he wouldn’t see the children and grandchildren anymore,” said Helen.

“It’s not me that’s not going to see them again,” replied Ray, “it’s you.”

Ray then stabbed Helen in the arm and, unbeknownst to her at the time, in the chest, penetrating her heart – a time-critical, life-threatening injury. She ran out of the door to her neighbour’s house.

Ambulance and police crews, closely followed by a doctor and specialist paramedic from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance who landed in a nearby school field, rushed to the scene.

Thanks to a wet red patch seeping through her shirt, the neighbours and ambulance crews realised that Helen also had a stab wound to her chest.

“I remember hearing them discuss breaking my breastbone and putting me to sleep – but in my mind I’d only been stabbed in the arm,” said Helen.

Helen and her daughter Indya

Indya, Helen’s daughter, received a call from her mum’s neighbour.

She said: “We started driving to Mum’s and there were blue lights in front of us. It was horrible. I knew it must be bad if they’ve called the air ambulance.”

Helen was loaded into an ambulance so the air ambulance crew could work on her. Shortly after, however, she rapidly deteriorated and became critically unwell with an unrecordable blood pressure – she was in ‘peri-arrest’ (about to go into a cardiac arrest).

The crew gave her emergency blood and clotting products to keep her alive. She was later found to have a pericardial effusion – a buildup of extra fluid in the space around the heart – confirming that the stab wound had penetrated the heart.

Helen required life-saving emergency surgery to repair the wound in her heart and spent the next two weeks in hospital.

“My girls were told they didn’t know whether they could save me or not,” said Helen. “I was distraught by that. What must they have been going through? Even now we still can’t believe it happened.”

Indya added: “It was awful. It changes your whole outlook on life. I know it sounds cheesy, but my life is fuller now. Without the care from the air ambulance crew, she wouldn’t be here now. I want to thank them for everything they did for my mum and my family.”

Helen has gone on to raise almost £2,000 for the life-saving charity through a Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams tribute night near her home in Gosport.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance crews will be ready to respond to people throughout the festive period thanks to the support of its local communities.

People wanting to support the charity can make a monthly donation at www.hiowaa.org/donate.

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