BRYNMAWR PARENTS SAY THANKS TO ‘WALES AIR AMBULANCE SUPERHEROES’ FOR SAVING SON’S LIFE
19 July 2017
Amie and Paul Sainsbury from Brynmawr can’t thank the Children’s Wales Air Ambulance enough for responding so quickly, saving their son’s life after he suffered a life-threatening fit.
The parents of three visited the Wales Air Ambulance airbase in Dafen and were reunited with the medics who saved their son Callum’s life in January.
At birth, Callum was diagnosed with Ohtahara syndrome, an extremely rare epileptic condition, where he was suffering up to 19 fits a day. Now aged four, Callum attends Pen-y-Cwm Special School in Ebbw Vale where the incident happened.
Amie recalled the incident and was overcome with emotion when she met members of the team including Doctor Tim Rogerson and Critical Care Practitioner (CCP) Rhyan Curtin.
The 33-year-old said: “I can remember it like it was yesterday. Callum had lots of fits in school before but none as serious as this. I got a call from the school one Wednesday to say he’d had a fit and wasn’t responding to anyone.
“Luckily one of the teachers was able to pick me up from my house and brought me to the school.
“I’ve never seen him like that before, he looked so grey and was limp.
“Within minutes the Wales Air Ambulance arrived with three crew members, Doctor Tim Rogerson, Doctor Camilla Waugh and CCP Tracy Phipps. A road ambulance was on its way as well.
“The Wales Air Ambulance crew really calmed me down and made me feel at ease, talking me through everything they did for Callum. They treated him there and then, like they had brought the hospital to Callum rather than the other way around. A matter of minutes saved his life.
“The road ambulance arrived and we all travelled with them to Nevill Hall Hospital, including the aircrew. They wanted to make sure he was stable in case he had another fit. They were all amazing and stayed with him until we were being looked after by the hospital staff.”
Callum was shortly diagnosed with E. coli and a chest infection which triggered his fits. He was then admitted to hospital for two weeks.
Amie continued: “I always think about the Wales Air Ambulance and if we see a helicopter in the sky we make sure Callum knows they were the ones who saved his life.
“We can’t thank everyone here enough; it’s really lovely to actually meet the people who looked after your little one in such a traumatic time. It was all a blur, so it’s nice to take some time and find out exactly what they did.
“My daughter bought chocolates from her own pocket money to give to the team as a small token of our appreciation.
“Callum has been poorly his entire life and we’re so thankful for everyone who helps him. We’re planning a charity night in the summer especially for the Children’s Wales Air Ambulance and hope to raise as much money as possible to help other families who might need their help one day.”
The Children’s Wales Air Ambulance is a specialist division of the Wales Air Ambulance, the official air ambulance for Wales. Its four helicopters cover 8,000 square miles of the country and over 800 miles of coastline to get to anyone in need within 20 minutes of receiving a call. The charity ensures its patients have the best chances of survival and early recovery by providing advanced treatments and taking them to hospital in the quickest possible time.
Angela Hughes, chief executive of Wales Air Ambulance, said: “We find lots of patients and their families find it extremely helpful to visit our airbases and say thank you in person to the people who saved their lives. It provides closure and it’s beneficial to talk through what happened. The team were so pleased to see Callum and his family and hear how he’s getting on after the incident.
“We’re really proud to be the air ambulance service for Wales and the life-saving work we do would not be possible without the donations and fundraising efforts of our supporters. We cover every corner of Wales and can reach anyone in 20 minutes, treating them at the scene and transporting them safely and quickly to the appropriate hospital.”