Monday, 26 November 2018 00:00

Help East Anglian Air Ambulance keep families together this Christmas

Written by  Stacey Harvey
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Help East Anglian Air Ambulance keep families together this Christmas

East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) has today launched their ‘Together This Christmas’ campaign. After saving the life of three-year-old Annabel earlier in the year, the charity has asked people to consider giving a little extra over the festive period to bring more patients like Annabel home to their families for Christmas.

On 9 February 2018 EAAA’s Anglia Two crew was tasked at 09.49 to a three-year-old girl named Annabel, who had sadly suffered a cardiac arrest at her pre-school. pilots Olly Gates and Gav Blake flew the team of Dr Victor Inyang, Dr Jon Barratt and Critical Care Paramedic Chris Neil directly to her side, arriving just 17 minutes after receiving the call. Despite a successful resuscitation by the fantastic pre-school team, Annabel was deeply unconscious and her airway was compromised. 

The team gave her a general anaesthetic in order to protect her airway and breathing. It is incredibly rare to anaesthetise a young child outside of a hospital so the team carefully modified drug dosages based on her age and weight.  Specialist paediatric airway equipment was prepared and checked.  It took the team just sixteen minutes to complete the process.  After gaining control of Annabel’s airway the crew made the decision to fly her to Addenbrooke’s. En route to hospital the team worked hard to stabilise her, but on the latter half of the journey Annabel deteriorated further and required intervention with specialist drugs. They were met at the hospital by the specialist paediatric resuscitation team; at this point she sadly went into cardiac arrest for a further two hours

Despite all the odds and after receiving further expert care at the hospital Annabel made an incredible recovery. The chain of survival was perfectly formed that day; it was undoubtedly the quick response, professional skills and outstanding patient care by everyone involved in a devastating situation that resulted in a lovely three-year-old girl being saved.

Given Annabel’s age and presentation this mission was one of the most significant for the EAAA and the team, who said they were delighted to be able to meet Annabel and her family at the charity’s base and show her the helicopter she was flown in.

Chris Neil, Critical Care Paramedic at EAAA, said; “On that day I was able to utilise all of my skills I have learnt in my 25 years working within pre-hospital emergency medicine.  The job was truly career defining.  It stretched my abilities, resilience and emotions and had the most amazing outcome.  Meeting Annabel a few months later was a special moment and one I will always treasure.” 


Rebecca and William, Annabel’s parents, said; “As a parent you never want to hear that your child is in need of emergency medical attention. Our world was shattered when we learnt that our three-year-old was being air lifted to Addenbrooke’s. Thankfully the EAAA played a vital part in our daughter’s chain of survival. The expertise, compassion and care they have provided during and after that unforgettable day in February, has enabled us to put into perspective how incredible and invaluable their service is. We are forever grateful.”

Little Annabel will be spending this Christmas together with her family, and this is all thanks to you, the fantastic the communities who support the charity and keep them flying. If you would like to support EAAA and help them to keep more families together this Christmas please go to their dedicated Christmas campaign page

You can read Annabel’s full story on the charity’s website or to find out more about the charity you can follow them on Facebook as ‘East Anglian Air Ambulance and on Twitter as @EastAngliAirAmb.


Last modified on Sunday, 13 January 2019 15:38