Last September Dylan Kneebone was with his family at their home near Redruth when a terrible accident saw him fall beneath a horse box.
The vehicle – containing two horses – ran over Dylan’s neck and chest, leaving him with injuries so severe his parents were told to prepare themselves for the worst.
Land-based paramedics on-scene called for the Cornwall Air Ambulance after it became obvious Dylan needed to get to hospital as quickly as possible. Speeding to the scene at 150mph, the helicopter arrived just ten minutes later.
Paramedic Mark Fuszard recalls: “When we arrived little Dylan was in a bad way. He was in severe respiratory distress, struggling for every breath and very, very frightened.”
One of Dylan’s lungs had collapsed and the paramedics performed a procedure to re-inflate the organ, as well as giving him medication to stem any internal bleeding and immobilising him to protect his spine.
The Cornwall Air Ambulance was on-scene for just ten minutes before taking off for Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske.
“Dylan was going downhill fast,” recalls Mark. “We called ahead to the hospital to let them know we were on our way in. The flight to hospital took just four minutes and when we arrived there was a whole paediatric team waiting at the door.
“The team at Treliske were brilliant, stabilising Dylan and getting him into a scan.
“They discovered not only did he have a collapsed lung, but his other had what is known as a bronchial tear – an extremely rare condition where the windpipe becomes detached from the lung itself.”
Dylan was later transferred to the specialist children’s unit at Bristol Royal Infirmary for a lifesaving operation. He was kept in an induced coma for a week, before being transferred back to Treliske to be close to his family.
Just three weeks after the accident, paramedics Mark and Mick got a big surprise as they delivered another patient to Treliske.
Mark recalls: “We were on the helipad preparing to leave when a little boy approached with a nurse. We thought he’d just come to look at the helicopter until he said ‘Hi, I’m Dylan,’ with a big grin on his face.
“It took us both totally by surprise. There was no way this could be the little lad who was fighting for his life just three weeks earlier.
“I told him he was a hero and asked him what his secret was. He replied: ‘Fish fingers and squash!’
“It was an incredibly special moment. It made us realise the difference the whole team had made not only to Dylan, but to his mum, dad and sister. To his whole family. It was very humbling.”