In 2021, Cornwall Air Ambulance was tasked to 551 trauma incidents alone. And in February, one of those incidents just so happened to include Eddie Stopford, who fell from a ladder while painting.
During the incident, Eddie, 75, fractured his skull, had a bleed on the brain, a collapsed lung and broke 27 bones, including his pelvis.
“I set the ladder up against the windowsill and climbed up, dipped my brush into the stain and went to put the brush on the window frame – that’s the last I remember.
“The next thing I vaguely remember was a distant voice saying, ‘Let’s get him on board and get him to Derriford quick’. I thought I was dreaming.”
Eddie then quickly blacked out again under strong pain meds and would remain in an induced coma for the next two weeks. It would be four more months (and three different hospitals later) until he was released to continue his rehab from home.
“Initially, they didn’t guarantee I would survive but fortunately I did, due to the expertise I was treated to.
“When I was speaking to my son after I’d come home from hospital, I asked how bad it was and he said, ‘Quite truthfully, Dad, I didn’t think you were going to live’.
“If I’d not woken up, or they’d not woken me up, that would have been the end of my life. But I did wake up and I’m still here, and that’s quite enlightening but also frightening and emotional, all wrapped up together.”
Today, Eddie is back on his feet and is even climbing up ladders again – which he credits to strength of self and having the right mindset, as well as the quick actions of Cornwall Air Ambulance.
“My doctor said he couldn’t believe I was standing in front of him, after what I’ve been through, when 90% of people wouldn’t have survived – and to have recovered in such a short amount of time. It really reassured me.
“Cornwall Air Ambulance is just so valuable, and, without it, I wouldn’t be sat here now, talking to you. It’s just paramount that they have it and keep it going forever.
“I can’t thank those guys enough. It was between life and death in my case, and, without their help, things would have been very different.”