The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) is one we all hope never to need, but for Barney Surgenor from Antrim, the 10th January 2022 was the day that he did. Whilst working on gutters he fell, receiving a serious head injury warranting the services of the HEMS doctor and paramedic team flown by air ambulance to the scene.  Barney has no memory of the incident.  His fiancé Pauline shares poignant memories from that time and the family are now appealing for support for Air Ambulance NI charity to help ensure the service is there for future patients.

Pauline said, “It was a day I’ll not forget in a hurry.  I had been looking after the grandchildren when a phone call came through to say Barney had had an accident at work.  Barney runs an outdoor services company and was cleaning guttering at the time.  I got to scene as fast as I could, but the helicopter was already taking off with Barney on board to be transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital. The consultant told me that Barney was in a critical condition with a skull fracture from his forehead right to the base of his neck and had three bleeds on the brain.   He was in hospital for 4 days though when he did get home, he was a different person.  The bleeding to part of the brain had caused a change in his personality meaning that my usually chatty Barney was quiet and withdrawn.  Thankfully, after a few weeks my Barney was back and incredibly in 6 weeks he was back to work!

It was such a difficult time, constantly worrying whether Barney was going to have any permanent brain damage, and be himself again. The support we received from family, friends, and Barneys customers was fantastic.  

Barney was one of the lucky ones. Now we want to help fundraise for the charity that helped Barney, and help a future patient.”

Barney is holding a raffle through the business and encourage all those who can to enter.  All funds raised will go directly to Air Ambulance NI.  See the Facebook page for more details

The charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service for Northern Ireland.  The service brings urgent medical assistance to anywhere in the province, operating seven days a week for 12 hours per day. It can get to anywhere in Northern Ireland in approximately twenty-five minutes.

Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising at Air Ambualnce NI said, “Many thanks to Barney, Pauline and family for their support and we wish Barney the very best for a continued recovery and healthy future ahead.”

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