Life Flight a saviour in emergency

By Cloe Willetts -

It was such a relief when I saw the paramedic running down the track.
Alice Bradley, Paraparaumu.

When Alice Bradley lay bleeding from the head and unable to walk on a track at the top of Whareroa Farm, she did not realise that the decision she was about to make was one of life or death.

Digging into her pocket, she clutched her cellphone and dialled 111 and, just over half an hour after tripping and hyperextending her right knee, she was being airlifted by Life Flight's Westpac Rescue Helicopter from the quiet reserve to the rooftop of Wellington Hospital.

On Saturday, September 10, as the southerly and patches of mist grew heavier, Alice sat in pain weighing up whether to call emergency services.

"It was a hard decision to make because it's been schooled into me that you only ring 111 for emergencies and I hadn't realised the seriousness of my injury," said the Paraparaumu resident, who fractured her tibial plateau and was hypothermic by the time the chopper arrived.

"The reality is if I hadn't phoned them, I don't think I would've made it through the night because it was pretty cold and there's no road access.

"It just doesn't bare thinking about."

Wearing only a merino top and leggings and with the last of the early evening sun setting, Alice spoke with Life Flight staff over the phone until, finally, they appeared with a roar overhead.

"I'd tried to stand up a couple of times while I waited, but my knee just wasn't working.

"It was such a relief when I saw the paramedic running down the track."

After being assessed and attached to a harness, Alice was winched up into the helicopter, where she was eventually wrapped in blankets and on her way to hospital, where she remained for 11 days.

Now, on bed rest and in a leg brace for 12 weeks, she encouraged others to make the phone call in a similar situation.

"I'm so thankful for Life Flight and how reassuring they were.

"At the time, I was really frightened by the prospect of being winched into the helicopter, but they were so calm and relaxed.

"It was very much business as usual for them."

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