A routine motorbike-run turned into disaster for Magherafelt’s Mark Whyte when he came off the bike in September 2022.  Mark hit a car which broke his fall and required the services of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) by air ambulance, who brought a doctor and paramedic to his aid, providing critical care at the scene of the accident.

Mark said, “The air ambulance medics were first on scene.  I have no memory of the accident, but they treated me and flew me to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where I was admitted to the Regional Intensive Care Unit, I needed to stay for further treatment and care for 12 weeks. I suffered injuries to my neck, and had extensive injuries to my ribs, back, pelvis, legs and punctured lungs.”

One and a half years later, Mark has made a remarkable recovery thanks to his personal determination and continuing support of physiotherapy department in the RVH.  He added, “My wife, Clare is a nurse, and she has helped keep me going throughout it all, alongside both of our families.  I feel like I have a second chance at life, and am not taking it for granted so I won’t be on a motorbike again. 

Clare and I are very excited to be able to plan ahead for our future together.

I am very grateful to the medics both at scene, at hospital and my physio Maeve. Without the rapid care and attention, I received from the medics of the Air Ambulance my story could look very different today, I will be forever grateful to their service. I wanted to give something back to the Air Ambulance charity and was able to raise £6,225 through a raffle that I ran through the Lambeg drumming associations.  Being able to visit the operational airbase recently, hand over the funds and meet one of the medics that treated me on scene was really special.”

Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising at Air Ambulance NI said, “It was lovely to welcome Mark and Clare to the airbase.  He has come so far in his journey of recovery and we wish him continued progress. Patients are at the heart of all we do and it’s very touching to think that someone fundraised for the helicopter to come to Mark in his time of need and now he has raised funds that will help a further two patients receive the care at scene that they need. As a charity Air Ambulance NI needs to raise £2.5m per annum to sustain the service for our 1.9m population of NI.  We can only do this with support from the public.  There are lots of ways to support including one off or regular donations, challenge events like the Moy Park Belfast City Marathon on Sunday 5th May, or our upcoming Roe Valley Abseil on 22 June 2024.  Check out www.airambulanceni.org for more information.”

The charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, provides the HEMS for Northern Ireland.  The service brings urgent medical assistance to anywhere in the province, operating seven days a week for 12 hours per day. The HEMS team attend patients who are seriously ill or injured, bringing emergency pre-hospital care direct to the casualty with the aim of saving lives, brains and limbs.  The aircraft can reach anywhere in Northern Ireland in approximately twenty-five minutes.

On average the medical team are called upon twice every day, whether that is as a result of a serious road traffic collision, farm or workplace accident, sport and leisure incident or a serious medical emergency.

Any patients or families of the HEMS are welcome to visit the airbase and should get in touch with Air Ambulance NI by calling 028 9262 2677.

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