A GRATEFUL Rugby man who nearly died in a horrific crash says he owes his life to the local Air Ambulance – which will be flying its 40,000th mission on June 24.
Guy Watt, 49, suffered multiple life-threatening injuries – including head injuries – when his car aquaplaned, rolled and hit a tree on the M45 near his Dunchurch home when he was driving home from work on a rainy January afternoon in 2014.
Just 15 months later, he ran the London Marathon – and is now a ‘super-supporter’ of the charity, having raised more than enough money to pay for three lifesaving missions.
Guy said: “I am a husband, a father, a son, a brother, an uncle, a friend and a colleague – but without the Air Ambulance I wouldn’t be any of these. I wouldn’t be alive today.”
He said the weather was so dreadful on the day of the accident, the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA) crew could not fly the helicopter so instead rushed to the scene in a critical care car.
“They got to me in just seven minutes, and then began the process of saving my life,” he said.
Guy had to be cut out of his car before the Air Ambulance doctor and critical care paramedic could treat him. He had a fractured right femur, a broken pelvis, sacrum, shoulder, ribs and foot, and also suffered two punctured lungs and bladder. He had severe blood loss and three bleeds to the brain. His blood pressure was dangerously low.
His injuries were splinted to help manage blood loss and pain and he was given medication.
“I was told afterwards that when the crew got back to base and were asked about the incident they said they didn’t think I would survive,” he said. “But thanks to their teamwork, the emergency services and the NHS I lived. The fact I am still here six years later is testament to what they did.”
Guy – who works as an independent mental health advocate – was taken to University Hospital Coventry by land ambulance with the Air Ambulance doctor in attendance.
He spent 10 days in an induced coma, underwent four operations to repair his broken bones and went home in a wheelchair four weeks later. He then embarked on an intensive rehabilitation programme which enabled him to return to work in the middle of October.
“Having the London Marathon to focus on really helped me,” he said. “It was what I needed to push myself into the gym to get back to being able to walk – first with crutches, then without and then to run again.”
It was an emotional moment for him and his family when he crossed the finishing line, after everything they had been through, in what was his fifth London Marathon.
He also recalls seeing his eldest daughter’s face light up with joy when they were at a pop concert later in the year of his accident.
“I just burst into tears and thought that I shouldn’t really be there to see it, but because of the air ambulance I was.”
Guy will forever be grateful to WNAA for saving his life.
He added: “If my story encourages people to support the charity then I will continue sharing it whenever I can.
“With my injuries I should not have survived 24 hours and would not be expected to walk again. I owe more than I will ever be able to give to the local Air Ambulance.”
The 24/7 lifesaving service reaches its 40,000th mission milestone on June 24 and relies on generous donations to make these missions happen.
Visit www.airambulanceservice.org.uk or call 0300 3045 999 to donate.