Dad praises NWAA for saving 2-year-old Henry’s life

Published: 16th May 2023

A Rossendale father has praised North West Air Ambulance Charity for saving his two-year-old son’s life after he suffered horrific injuries when struck by a car.

Toddler Henry endured multiple facial and skull fractures, chest and lung injuries, internal bleeding and a lacerated spleen, when his head went under the wheels of the car whilst walking with his mum and aunty in a horrific accident on Cowm Park Way, Whitworth.

The North West Air Ambulance Charity’s Dr Ed and his team gave Henry lifesaving interventions at the scene of the accident before he was taken to hospital. Without the enhanced pre-hospital care given at the roadside; dad Rob fears his son would never have made it alive.

Henry’s story is being shared as The North West Air Ambulance Charity, which relies completely on public and corporate donations to carry on saving lives, celebrates its 24th anniversary. The charity is not part of the NHS and doesn’t receive any government funding – therefore it must raise over £12 million every year to continue its lifesaving service.

As Henry continues on his road to recovery, dad Rob said: “I don’t think words will ever say how grateful we are as a family to the North West Air Ambulance Charity. And to everyone who donates you have given us as a family a chance to live our lives again and for Henry to live his life as fully as possible.”

Henry’s Aunt Beth described the horror that unfolded on the day of the accident.

She said: “Me, Henry and his mum Alex went for a walk at teatime. He was walking between us and just playing. He suddenly took a tumble onto the road as a car was coming past and his head went under the wheel.

“My gut feeling was that he was dead. His mum Alex picked him up and she was screaming.”

Henry pretending to drive a fire truck

Rob, 32, a senior school nurse in Rochdale, picked up the story from when he arrived at the scene.

He said: “When Alex explained to me what had happened my heart just sank, and I thought we had lost him.”

Fortunately, an ambulance was already close by attending to a patient at a care home, so Henry was lifted on board.

Rob said: “The air ambulance landed in a nearby field coincidentally next to our house.”

Dr Ed is part of the North West Air Ambulance Charity team who deliver enhanced pre-hospital care at the roadside.

He said: “When we arrived Henry was already in the ambulance. He had significant head injuries. There was blood in his airways, and he wasn’t responsive.

“He immediately needed emergency anaesthetic and we had to give him a blood transfusion to ensure his blood pressure and heart rate were mitigated as soon as possible. After that we performed some minor chest surgery to make sure his lungs could expand properly.

“Having carried out this intervention at the scene Henry was stable enough to be taken directly to the nearest children’s major trauma centre.”

Dr Ed added: “This is the reason we do what we do to help that small number of critically unwell patients where critical intervention needs to happen as soon as possible, so that we can deliver the best care and the best outcome.”

Once at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Henry, underwent 10 hours of surgery and was in intensive care for 10 days. He remained in hospital for five weeks and during rehabilitation he had to learn to crawl, walk, talk, eat and drink again. He underwent physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy.

Rob said: “I just remember the first time he opened his eyes I just thought ‘Yep, that’s Henry’. It was such a relief. Within hours he was asking for mummy and daddy and his dinosaurs! He’s obsessed with dinosaurs. Recovery is going very well. Henry has been absolutely amazing and has been discharged from the majority of specialities.”

Henry, his dad and his brother OscarHenry on the swings

Recently Henry and his family visited the North West Air Ambulance Charity base in Manchester and met Dr Ed and the Critical Care team.

Dr Ed said: “Often we see our patients at the roadside, but it is rare you get to see them afterwards. When you do, it really brings home the value of what we do. To be able to see someone like Henry make a great recovery is so rewarding. It makes you realise how worthwhile this job really is.”

Earlier on the day of the accident Rob and Alex had learned they were to be parents again and now their second son Oscar is 11 months old.

Rob said: “Henry is so proud of being a big brother and loves to look after Oscar.”

To watch Henry’s Story follow this link

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