The air ambulance service is launching a new tool to provide support for accident witnesses after a serious accident involving a Corby construction worker last year left his friends traumatised.
Paramedics and doctors at Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA) will now carry a business-card sized leaflet outlining emotional and mental health symptoms a bystander might experience following an accident or emergency.
The scheme was inspired by Jamie Burnett, who was airlifted to hospital after being crushed by a dumper truck in a horrific accident that left him fighting for his life.
The 26-year-old lost three quarters of his blood during the accident on the A14 last August, as well as suffering skin loss, a fractured pelvis and multiple broken bones.
After four months spent in different hopsitals, which involved some time in an induced coma, extensive surgery and learning to walk again, Jamie began fundraising for the ambulance and is now the face of their summer campaign to fund lifesaving materials.
But although the work of expert doctors eventually put Jamie back on his feet, at the time of the accident itself it was his colleagues Adam Davies and Jim Murphy who saved his life by reversing the truck off him, tourniqueting his wounds with their shirts and calling the emergency services.
Seeing and helping at an accident like Jamie’s can really stick with you.Adam Davies
Without any experience in dealing with such traumatic events, the pair struggled to process and get over witnessing their friend’s injuries, which doctors described left Jamie looking as though he had been “blown up”.
Mr Davies said: “Seeing and helping at an accident like Jamie’s can really stick with you.
“Witnessing anyone go through an emergency is hard, and sometimes it can be hard to know what to expect or who you can talk to.”
The cards, similar to others provided by ambulance services around the country, give advice on the possible effects of traumatic incidents, such as mood swings, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, feeling anxious and tiredness.
They also carry a list of organisations and phone numbers that can provide support to someone who might be struggling, including MIND, the Samaritans, and NHS 111.
Philippa Gibbs, base manager and critical care paramedic for WNAA, said: “As pre-hospital care is urgent and fast-paced, it can be hard to reassure witnesses or provide them with details of support at a scene.
“This new tool in our arsenal means we can make sure witnesses have some support without a pause in tending to emergency patients.”
Each of WNAA’s missions costs an average of £1,700, and as the charity receives no government funding, it is run entirely on the generous donations of supporters.
To donate to Jamie’s Lifesaving Materials Appeal, visit www.theairambulanceservice.org.uk/gauze or call 08454 130999 for more information.
Calls will cost 3ppm plus your access charge.