A LIFE SAVEDElspeth Howie tells us about the day HIOWAA rescued her son.

In July 2013, Elspeth Howie’s son was rescued by HIOWAA following a horrible accident.

It was late afternoon on July 8th 2013 and my son Dan – a normal although somewhat adventurous 13 year old boy – had gone to the local college car park with a couple of friends to do a bit of skateboarding.  He was very tired that evening  having had a day at school after returning from a school trip involving 20 hours on a coach the day before.Within half an hour or so, one of his friends came back to the house with the news that Dan had had an accident.  I was expecting some sort of skateboarding injury.  However Dan had managed to impale himself on the iron railing of the college fence.  He had slipped whilst climbing over on his way home.  He had, I learned afterwards, climbed over the fence many times previously with no incident, but in his exhausted state, he had not been as careful as normal. The spike had gone into his chest and up into the top of his right lung.  Thankfully, a neighbour had heard his cries for help and was supporting him as he hung from the fence.

Dan had already used his own mobile phone to dial 999 and I took over talking to the operator when I arrived at the scene, and within a few minutes the first emergency vehicle – a fire engine -arrived.  Just before the fire engine arrived a neighbour who is a doctor, just home from his shift, arrived at the scene and completely took over looking after Dan until help arrived.  We have so many people to be thankful for.

Dan was supremely calm and I am so proud of him.  He listened to all the emergency personnel and didn’t panic.  The fire fighters all said to us afterwards that because he had been so calm, that it had made their job easier.

The Air Ambulance landed in Peter Symonds grounds, right next to where the accident had happened.  I’m not sure how long it took for it to arrive, but it was definitely at that point that I realised that Dan had had quite a serious accident.

Because Dan was in a stable condition, the decision was made for him to go to Southampton General by Road.  However, the doctors and paramedics on board the Air Ambulance were crucial to his treatment at the scene.  I often think that I am glad he didn’t need to go in the helicopter, but felt quite grateful that it was there in case he did need it.

Fortunately, Dan recovered quite quickly.  He spent 3 days in hospital, and by September when we saw the surgeon again, he was signed off fully fit and ready to continue with life as normal.  It didn’t stop me and his Dad worrying about him, especially when he was playing football or other sport.  He is absolutely fine now with no lasting damage – just some spectacular scars to show off!    He is a very lucky boy.

I feel so very grateful that the Air Ambulance is available to us  – you have no idea when you might need it.  I certainly didn’t think I would need it in my own street on a beautiful sunny day in July.

Dan did the Walk the Test Way in October last year for HIOWAA and raised over £300.  A drop in the ocean in terms of what you need daily I hope it helps!

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