The mother of a 19-year-old who was critically injured in a hit and run in Warrington, is celebrating her son’s recovery, after the dramatic incident took place near his home, and has paid tribute to the North West Air Ambulance’s Charity
On Friday 29 October 2021, Sam Durcan’s son Dylan Fryers was walking to his local shop with his younger brother Ethan, when he was hit at speed by a car that failed to stop at the scene.
Suffering a serious head injury, Dylan required the intervention of the charity’s enhanced pre-hospital care teams who treated Dylan at the scene and helped save his life. The crew attended using one of the charity’s critical care vehicles – a response vehicle that brings the charity’s HEMS Doctors and Critical Care Paramedics to incidents across the North West of England.
Critical care vehicles have the same equipment as the North West Air Ambulance Charity’s helicopters. The North West Air Ambulance Charity currently operates a night car on a Friday and Saturday night between 6pm and 2am to treat patients.
On the evening of Dylan’s accident, mum Sam, a medical secretary, remembers the moment her younger son Ethan ran into the house.
Sam said: “I was sitting at home watching TV when Ethan came running into the house. He was so distressed, and I could barely understand him, but I heard ‘Dylan has been hit by a car’ and I ran out of the house.”
“When I arrived, Dylan was just lying in the middle of the road. It was like watching Casualty without a pause button.”
Dylan was assessed by North West Ambulance Service staff, who requested the expertise of the North West Air Ambulance Charity.
“The doctor from the Air Ambulance arrived, and I realised just how serious the situation was. He came over to me and explained that they were bringing the hospital to the roadside.”
The charity’s doctor worked on Dylan’s multiple injuries, including multiple fractures, a collapsed lung and major swelling of the brain.
The decision was made to perform a Rapid Sequence Induction on Dylan – a procedure that controls a patient’s breathing, essentially placing them on a life support machine. This is a procedure that would normally wait until arrival at hospital, but the North West Air Ambulance Charity can perform this at the roadside.
Sam said: “Then they explained they were going to intubate him because he was very agitated, and they didn’t know what damage was done at that point.
“It was better to put him in a coma to let his body calm down. That’s what they did at the roadside.”
Dylan was transported by land ambulance to Aintree University Hospital, accompanied by the air ambulance doctor. During the first couple of days, Sam was informed that Dylan’s condition was precarious.
Sam said: “The doctor in hospital was frank with me that he wasn’t responding to treatment. He said it could go two ways – that he might not wake up. I don’t think the severity had really sunk in until that point.
“Up until then, it felt like a dream. But after that it wasn’t. It was real and it was a nightmare. I walked out of the hospital, got into my car and just fell apart.”
Following further treatment though, Dylan started to respond. After 11 days in a coma, Dylan was extubated and moved out of the hospital’s ITU.
Sam said: “At 7am I had a call from the hospital, and I expected the worst. But the nurse said ‘do you want to speak to someone?’ and it was Dylan. He was spaced out but he waved on the phone.”
One year on, Dylan is still recovering from the event, but has started to slowly return to normal life, returning to work part-time and socialising with his friends. Sam says that without the North West Air Ambulance Charity, Dylan would not have survived. As a thank you, the family delivered cakes to the charity base, as well as to hundreds of other health workers who were involved in his treatment.
Sam said: “The Air Ambulance is the reason why Dylan is alive now. One hundred million per cent. That is why Dylan is still with us now and not in a worse state than he could have been in.
“Bringing the hospital to the roadside saved that travel time, they just crack on and they explained it fully to me. I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone.”
Lead HEMs Paramedic Andy Duncan was part of the crew that treated Dylan on the day. He said: “When we arrive at the scene, Dylan was quite agitated, and it wasn’t 100% clear if that was due to his head injury. To protect his brain from any underlying injuries we made the decision to administer a Rapid Sequence Induction (RSI) to Dylan. This essentially put Dylan into a coma so we could regulate his breathing – basically giving his brain the chance to rest.”
“During the treatment, we kept Sam updated throughout the procedure. Dylan’s mum was exceptional and very calm given the circumstances. Hearing that Dylan has made great progress is great news and I hope he continues to improve on his pathway to recovery.”
The North West Air Ambulance Charity provides enhanced pre-hospital care to patients across the North West, 365 days a year. The charity receives no government or NHS funding, and relies on donations from supporters to keep saving lives.