NEAS & Great North Air Ambulance work together to save man's life

Pedestrian survives despite being hit at high speed

Just 12-month's ago, Marc Reed's life was hanging in the balance.

Struck by a car at high speed as he walked home following a night out in Bishop Auckland, medics feared he would not survive.

But a year on, the 28-year-old from Hunwick has been to meet the doctor and paramedic team that his family say saved his life.

The incident happened in the early hours of Sunday, August 11, 2013. Mr Reed was hit by a taxi on Newton Cap Viaduct, leaving him unconscious and with widespread and severe injuries.

A NEAS road ambulance crew was first on scene, joined shortly afterwards by a team from the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).

At the time, a joint trail between NEAS and GNAAS was in operation, with air ambulance paramedics on board a road vehicle.

The charity brought two paramedics and emergency department consultant Mike Davison to the scene, all of whom were working on a voluntary basis.

Mr Reed would have had to wait until he was at hospital before he was seen by a doctor, a journey he is unlikely to have survived.

Instead, he was given life-saving care at the roadside by Dr Davison, who is also an Army doctor, and who was able to administer advanced level drugs and treatments on scene.

Mr Reed had sustained a severe brain injury, broken neck, ribs and lacerated spleen, among many other serious injuries. He had stopped breathing three times and was in a coma.

On the Injury Severity Scale, an established medical score, Mr Reed was given a 58. The scale runs from 1, least serious, to 75. Fifteen is what is normally classed as being a major trauma.

Dr Davison, who returned to work in Afghanistan last weekend, said: "This score basically means he had a one in 250 chance of survival. The only place I've seen injuries as serious is on the battlefield."

Arriving at James Cook University Hospital was just the start of Mr Reed's journey. He was in intensive care for a month, then in a high dependency ward after that. He did not speak for five months.

Mum Alison Reed described the moment he first spoke, on New Year's Eve, 2013.

She said: "I was holding his hand and saying 'it's mum', and then he said 'mum'. I said 'your dad's here too' and he said 'dad'.

"I then said 'I know I'm pushing it, but can you just say I love you?' and he just said 'I love you'. We were all crying."

Mr Reed, who is now learning to walk again and hopes to return to work in the future, said: "I'm just grateful for every breath that goes in my mouth. I'm just taking it all in."

Mrs Reed said the whole family were "immensely proud" of Mr Reed and how he has handled the incident.

"I just want to shout it from the rooftops," she said. "We can never thank the crew enough for what they did. We are forever in their debt."

Dr Davison said it was an emotional moment being reunited with Mr Reed. "He can accomplish anything he wants to," he added. "It's all down to spirit. Marc just had that will to live, and ultimately, that's what got him through this."

Meanwhile, talks are ongoing about the future of the rapid response service after what was a busy and successful trial.

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