July 29, 2016, was a day like any other for Michael. It was 4.30 pm and he had just finished work as a water sports instructor and was about to cycle home, where his partner Melissa and their 13-month-old son Evelyn were waiting for him.
It was a short journey that he had made many times before. Although it was a summer’s day, the weather had taken a turn for the worse and during the short ride home along a main road it had started to rain.
Michael explains: “I thought about stopping and putting my waterproof trousers on, but I glanced at my watch and was making good time. I was going to be home soon so I decided that rather than spend time stopping and putting on my waterproof trousers I would just carry on.” That was the last thing he remembered before waking up two days later in Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham. Unknown to Michael he had been in the wrong place at the wrong time and had been hit by a car. His head had taken the force of the impact when he collided with the car’s windshield before ricocheting off.
Dr Topham put Michael into a medically induced coma
The Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance was dispatched. Paramedic Roger Linnell and Dr Simon Topham jumped into the team’s Rapid Response vehicle and went on ahead while Pilot Paul Smith and Paramedic Jane Pattison followed in the helicopter. Roger explained: “When Simon and I arrived, the helicopter had already landed. We got to Michael at the same time. It was obvious he was in a bad way. He had a serious head injury, you could see the swelling getting bigger as we looked at it. Dr Topham put Michael into a medically induced coma which allowed us to administer drugs to stop the swelling on his brain, take over his breathing and administer pain relief.”
While the crew was battling to save Michael’s life, the rain was beating down on them. They had moved Michael to a nearby driveway partially sheltered by trees and bystanders and police officers were attempting to hold tarpaulins over the crew while they worked. Due to the severity of Michael’s injuries, he needed to be taken to Queen’s Medical Centre urgently where a full medical team would be on hand. The weather meant that the helicopter could not make the journey so Roger and Dr Topham travelled with Michael in the land ambulance as Jane followed in a car behind.
Without the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance I really believe I would not be here
Miraculously, Michael was in ICU for just two days followed by five days on a specialist trauma and neurology ward. He was able to leave hospital less than a week after the collision. He explained: “Most of that day is now a blank, I have no idea what happened after I checked my watch. I was told that I was very seriously injured, but all I remember is waking up in hospital and being very annoyed that they had cut off my jacket and rucksack. One of my first questions was to ask if my bike was ok. I still suffer really bad headaches from my head injury and had some fantastic bruising over my body. Without the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, I really believe I would not be here now to see my son grow up.”
Just five months after the accident, although the physical scars have healed, mentally Michael is still coming to terms with the accident and is only now starting to be able to piece together what happened, thanks to people like the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance crew who treated him. Talking to the crew has helped Michael to better understand what happened and help his recovery. He still has a long way to go but is determined to make it.