A construction worker who suffered life-threatening injuries after being crushed by a dumper truck has spoken of the day that changed his life.
It may be more than a year since Jamie Burnett’s accident on the A14 near Kettering, but he can still remember the moment he was pinned under the wheels of a dumper truck last August.
After finally meeting Dr Adam Manson, the trauma doctor who helped save his life, at a surprise birthday party held for Jamie at the air ambulance base recently, he has spoken to the Northants Telegraph about the day it happened and how he can never thank the medics enough for what they did for him.
It was coming to the end of his shift and Jamie from Corby had just spoken to his boss on the phone about clearing up the site before heading home.
He sat down in a safe place to send a text, but the next thing he saw was a dumper truck coming straight towards him and there was no time to get out of the way.
Jamie, who remembers the whole thing, said: “The front tyre just pulled me under from my ankles and started its way up my legs and my body.
I felt like every bone in my body had been broken simultaneouslyJamie Burnett
“It got to my pelvis and twisted me sideways, I was hanging off the tyre.” As well as suffering massive blood and skin loss, his right leg was broken in three places and his left leg came away from his pelvis.
He said: “I don’t think I can put into words how painful it was.
“I felt like every bone in my body had been broken simultaneously.”
Two people Jamie was working with rushed to his aid and he said: “They were both in the vicinity and had seen the accident happening.
“I was very fortunate that one of them was trained in first aid.
“It took 15 minutes from the accident for the air ambulance to get there and while these two lads were waiting, one had a phone through to his ear and his two hands free to keep my body together.”
A first response vehicle arrived at the scene, followed by a land ambulance and then the air ambulance, and each of these were emptied to help treat Jamie at the scene.
Due to the huge blood loss he had suffered, the medics were unable to give him painkillers as this could thin his blood further.
Jamie said: “I must have been there for 10 minutes while they tried to stabilise me at the side of the road.
“Coventry was the nearest major trauma centre, but they took me to Kettering General Hospital first.
“By this time, I had passed out because I had two pints of blood left in my body.
“They took me in the land ambulance to Kettering General Hospital and were told to get as much blood together as possible.”
Once Jamie had been given enough blood to stabilise him, they were able to airlift him to Coventry.
He said: “I can remember being in the air ambulance and hearing the blades chopping.
“I remember someone holding my hand and it was Dr Manson talking to me to keep me coherent.
“The person I wanted to meet the most afterwards was Dr Manson, it was his call that saved me because he’s got experience of working with soldiers and bringing people in as he knows where people need to go.
“He said he would take the call as he knew exactly where I needed to go.
“It just seems like lots of coincidences that he was in the helicopter that day and the two lads were there at the time of the accident.
“Once I was in the hospital and had been put into a coma, they called my family and ex-girlfriend and they explained that what they were about to do was a life-saving operation and obviously my family wanted to know what my chances were.”
His chances were slim at the time, but started to improve as the weeks went on.
According to one of his doctors, ‘nothing was where it should be’ and Jamie’s treatment included reconstruction of his right leg and pelvis.
The nerve damage he suffered was so severe that he was very close to being paraplegic after the accident, his pelvis was completely shattered and he has been warned by doctors that he may now be prone to osteoarthritis.
The sciatic nerve in his left leg from the knee down doesn’t work so while he can walk again, he has to compensate for the fact his left foot doesn’t work.
Despite all of this, Jamie is full of praise for the medics, as well as his mum, ex-girlfriend and friends for helping him through the past 12 months.
Jamie said: “I have been down to the hospital since to see the people that looked after me, and it’s amazing to see their faces when you walk in.”
And while meeting Dr Manson, who he describes as his guardian angel, was very special, there was still time for a joke.
Jamie said: “When I spoke to Adam Manson, I said I am a lot taller than when I had my legs wrapped around my head.”
The 27-year-old is unable to work at the moment, but has said he will continue to support the air ambulance where he can and added: “I have spent my entire life going shopping with my mum and seeing the air ambulance’s yellow tubs at the end of the till aisles.
“I don’t think people actually know how much of a vital service it is until you have to use it.
“They need the charity and the fundraising to keep going and keep saving people’s lives.”
For more information about the air ambulance and its work, go to www.theairambulanceservice.org.uk.