On Ribbesford Road, Bewdley, 18-year-old Sophie Price was involved in a dreadful road traffic collision with another vehicle on Thursday 8th March 2018.
Two ambulance crews attended to treat Sophie’s life-threatening injuries. Her quickly deteriorating state coupled with the severity of the collision meant that the emergency services’ call handler dispatched Midlands Air Ambulance Charity’s helicopter, from the RAF Cosford airbase. On-board was a pre-hospital emergency medicine doctor and a critical care paramedic.
The critical care paramedic recalls: “It became immediately apparent that Sophie was critically ill – she was unconscious and had begun to vomit – meaning she was unable to maintain her own airway. There was a risk that vomit would leak into her lungs, causing a decreased amount of oxygen getting to her brain.”
It was evident Sophie’s life was hanging in the balance, and further advanced critical care was required on scene to aid the land ambulance crews’ attempt of saving her.
Sophie was conveyed to the nearest major trauma centre at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital via land ambulance.
The critical care paramedic explains: “It was a dark, winter’s night meaning the hospital’s helipad was closed so we were unable to fly. On route to the hospital, our doctor continued to provide critical care and helped stabilise Sophie.”
Once the team arrived at the hospital the full extent of Sophie’s injuries were identified. They included: two bleeds on the brain; an excess in fluid causing increased pressure on her brain; a burst artery in her neck; multiple fractures to her skull, neck and eye sockets; and a collapsed lung.
Sophie underwent surgery to repair the severed artery. However, she later encountered unforeseen complications which led to her suffering a major stroke lasting approximately four days. Parts of her skull and brain were removed to stop swelling in two further lifesaving operations. Sophie remained in hospital for five months.
“The road to recovery has been a long one, the accident has had an impact both physically and mentally,” says Sophie, who is now in her twenties. Although I have finished my rehab programme, I still go walking to strengthen my muscles. I require a wheelchair for longer distances.
“Midlands Air Ambulance are heroes in the skies. The crew inspire me every day and I stay positive and determined because I know that negativity gets you nowhere.”
Sophie has since gone on to fundraise for MAAC, raising £5,360 funding 13 missions – one air and 12 by critical care car.
She concludes: “I'm extremely happy to be alive thanks to the intervention of total strangers, West Mercia Police, Midlands Air Ambulance and the ambulance service along with other NHS staff.”