Man credits Air Ambulance crew for saving his life

Man credits Air Ambulance crew for saving his life

11 October 2017

A SERIOUSLY injured horse rider says he owes his life to Northern Ireland’s new Air Ambulance.

Michael Graham was airlifted from Downpatrick to a Belfast hospital during a swift journey after sustaining life-threatening injuries from a kick by a horse.

Suffering from internal bleeding and multiple fractures, he says he is alive thanks to the action of paramedics, who ensured he received rapid emergency in-hospital treatment.

Stabilised by paramedics at the rural scene of the accident, Michael said he was hospitalised within 45 minutes of the potentially fatal kick thanks to the Air Ambulance transfer.

Put in an induced coma and placed on life support, he was treated for lacerations to his liver and fractured ribs, remaining in hospital for a week before returning home to recuperate.

Michael says he believes he would have died without the rapid response of paramedics and particularly the quick air transfer.

Having worked with horses throughout his life, and enjoying riding competitions across Northern Ireland, Michael said he was fortunate to have a friend with him when he was injured.

“I went into the field to catch the horses and to bring them in for training and exercises,” he recalled.

“I was leading one from the field and another turned around and kicked me in the side.

“I fell to the ground and couldn’t breathe. The paramedics realised it was my liver and as I was too unstable to travel by normal ambulance they called in air support. I am very lucky I got from Downpatrick to Musgrave within minutes as I deteriorated en route.”

Aware of the debate around the costs of the introduction of an Air Ambulance to Northern Ireland, he said he was so grateful to have received the lifesaving support he needed.

“I know the ambulance has only been operating since August. I am so grateful of the bravery and calmness of the paramedics and for how quickly they acted considering the pressure they are under and the strain on resources,” he said.

“My accident happened in a field so the Air Ambulance was able to land just meters away.

“I think they did an amazing job, they really did save my life.”

Despite a warning not to undertake hard labour or riding for at least three months while his liver recovers, Michael said he will not be deterred, long term, from his horse riding hobby.

“I am trying to get back to the horses as soon as possible, They are unpredictable animals and that is why I always ensure I am not on my own with them. If I had been on this occasion I would have bled to death,” he said.

“It is what I do and what I love to do. It was a freak accident.”