Next month, Andrea Robinson from Aughnacloy in Co. Tyrone will be marking a year to the day of an almost tragic incident on the family farm involving her son Ben, aged 6.
It was 29 May 2019 and the family of four had just returned from holiday in London. Dad Derek is a farmer and sons Ben and Harvey love nothing more than helping their Dad on the farm. On that day Derek was getting the pump into the slurry tank and Ben was in the yard.
Andrea recalls being in the kitchen and looking out the back window, “The panic just rose in me as I saw my husband Derek carrying Ben, limp and bleeding up the garden. He had a gash on his head and a lot of blood. I thought he had been hit by the tractor and so I called 999 before they reached the house.”
Very quickly Derek realised that Ben was not breathing. Derek said, “It was every parent’s worst nightmare but having the support from the 999 call-taker was brilliant. They stayed on the line with us giving CPR advice. It was 1 minute 45 seconds before Ben came around – the longest time of my life. I know the outcome could have been so different.”
Whilst Ben had regained consciousness, he still had a gash on his head and the family had no knowledge of how the slurry may have affected their son.
Andrea went outside to get some air and remembers the sound of the Air Ambulance NI helicopter arriving. “It was so surreal. Thankfully my Dad was there too, and he was able to flag the helicopter into our yard.”
The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) team was Dr Rory Maguire and Paramedic Emma Boylan who assessed the scene and patient. They were able to check Ben’s vitals, treat his wound and were then content for Ben to go to the local Craigavon Area Hospital.
Andrea said, “The air ambulance team arrived so quickly and were calm and professional. I was pretty hysterical that day but they took control of the scene and it was reassuring. Thankfully Ben has made a 100% recovery and still loves helping his Dad on the farm. I am so glad that both of my sons are able to grow up together. As a community we are lucky to have the Air Ambulance service and I hope to be able to do my bit and hold a coffee morning when the time is right. I would encourage everyone to do what they can to support as you never know who could need it next.”