A motorcyclist has thanked the emergency teams at Norfolk Blood Bikes, the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) and the East of England Ambulance Service for saving his life after a serious crash back in August 2019.
56-year-old Andrew Walker, from Diss, was travelling home from his local train station when he collided with a stationary vehicle. He was thrust straight into his handlebars, rupturing his spleen and liver which caused major internal bleeding.
The East of England Ambulance Service who were attending the incident radioed for an air ambulance after suspecting major internal injuries and deciding that he might need a blood transfusion. The EAAA arrived within 17 minutes of being called with supplies for an emergency transfusion, specially delivered to them by the team here at Norfolk Blood Bikes.
This partnership is part of a clinical trial called RePHILL*, which has been set up by the University of Birmingham to study the administration of blood to trauma patients before they arrive at hospital and the associated benefits. Each night we deliver four RePHILL boxes to their base at the airport, enabling the EAAA team to distribute it at the site of a trauma to those in need.
Our lifesaving partnership resulted in Andrew being able to receive a roadside transfusion before being airlifted to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. He was in intensive care for several days and in hospital for two weeks before he was well enough to continue his recovery at home.
“I’m so grateful to the ambulance and air ambulance teams who treated me and made sure that I received the very best care and to the blood bikers who make sure the air ambulance is able to carry blood,” said Andrew. “I feel very lucky that my injuries weren’t worse, and I have been able to recover relatively quickly with the help of my family.”
Andrew is a regular blood donor and holds the silver blood donor card. He has been donating blood for almost twenty years and has donated an impressive 34 times! Now having been the recipient of blood, he is even more aware of its importance: “Being a regular blood donor, you go and give blood with never a thought that one day you may need it yourself. I would always encourage anyone that can give blood to do so, or to support one of these incredible charities.”
Keith Grisedale, from our team here at Norfolk Blood Bikes, said: “Under normal circumstances, we never know who the patient is, so to know we played an integral part in Andrew’s recovery is immensely satisfying for us.”
Richard Hindson, Head of Operations at EAAA, said: “We’re really proud to be working together with the Norfolk Blood Bikes charity in order to take part in the RePHILL clinical research trial. This means we’re not only able to help our patients, but by contributing to this national trial we’re helping future trauma patients to get the very best care based on the results of this blood trial.”
*About the RePHILL trial – does providing blood before going to hospital make a difference?
Patients like Andrew will help researchers find the answer, as it’s more complicated than you might think. Norfolk Blood Bikes and the EAAA are proud to be part of the RePHILL trial, the first clinical trial of its kind in the UK to study the pros and cons of giving blood to trauma patients before they arrive at hospital. RePHILL stands for Resuscitation with Pre-Hospital Blood Products.
As blood is a valuable and limited resource, the trial is needed to understand more about how it is used and provide evidence-based data about the types of patients who benefit most. The trial will also look at how much blood is required in total, if blood is to be given at scene versus in hospital.
To prevent biased results, the blood boxes are randomly packed so that some contain blood and some contain saline, salty water used to rehydrate patients. The team do not know which product they have before they decide to give blood. The trial began in January 2018 and runs until December 2020.
To find out more about the trial, click here.