“I panicked when they said the air ambulance was coming, because you know then it’s serious.”
A devastating motorbike accident on Mother’s Day 2022 left Harley Gaskin, 36, with life-changing injuries to his leg and spine.
Riding back home from his place of work, Blackgang Chine, Ventnor, on a beautiful sunny day, Harley detoured across the seafront before going to see his family for Mother’s Day. But disaster struck when an oncoming car collided with Harley, sending him careering over the roof of the vehicle. He hit the ground and lay stranded in the middle of the road.
“I remember it very clearly,” says Harley. “The light was still green, so I tried to move myself out of the road.”
As Harley dragged himself to the kerb, his foot remained motionless beneath him. “My leg moved but my foot decided to stay behind,” says Harley.
“I knew it was bad. I put my hand under my leg, grabbed above the ankle and dragged my foot with me.”
Harley had broken both his tibia and fibula and done severe damage to his L1 spine.
Scanning the calls on the dispatch desk, the dispatch team realised the severity of the incident and deployed the duty crew.
“I heard a helicopter flying overhead but wasn’t sure if it was the air ambulance,” says Harley. “The ground crew confirmed it was them and that they were trying to find an area to land. I panicked, because you know then it’s serious. But I was sure I wasn’t going to die, so I just had to relax.”
Harley was assessed and given ketamine to relieve the pain. The crew stabilised him before loading him onto a stretcher and into the helicopter. A short flight later, the team arrived at the nearest major trauma unit, University Hospital Southampton.
Harley had to have multiple pins and plates inserted into his leg and now suffers from nerve damage and circulation problems. He is now on the list to have a below-knee amputation to his right leg.
“I can’t work or mobilise without using my hands,” says Harley. “But as soon as I’ve had the amputation and I’ve learnt to walk on my prosthetic leg, I’ll hopefully return to work.”
While adjusting to his new life, Harley is in awe of the lifeline that the air ambulance plays in bringing critical care to people on the Isle of Wight.
“If the Air Ambulance hadn’t turned up it could have been so much worse. I could have had major internal bleeding.
“Thank you to everybody that has supported and donated to the air ambulance – I appreciate you all just as much as the crew for helping them to continue and save lives.”
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