Brave youngster Rory Rees needed the swift response of the Cornwall Air Ambulance crew after the brakes on his bicycle failed, causing him to crash at speed into a metal lamppost.
The 10-year-old was out playing with a friend near his home in Trelawney Road, Padstow, on 31 May, when the pair decided to ride their bikes down a steep hill to the reach the Camel Trail cycle path.
As Rory neared the bottom of Moyle Road, he reached for his brakes to slow himself down but nothing happened. The youngster kept a cool head as he hurtled downhill towards a sharp bend in the road, deciding to jump over the kerb and onto a grassy area, rather than trying to make it around the tight turn.
But as he hit the kerb, Rory lost control of his bike and smashed straight into a metal lamppost. His right leg took full force of the impact which snapped his thigh bone (femur) in two.
Rory said: “I thought if I could get off the road, the grass might slow me down, but I hit the lamppost. The bike flew around and hit me. I could feel my bones moving, but they weren’t where they were supposed to be.”
As luck would have it, an orthopaedic surgeon and his wife holidaying in Cornwall happened to walk past at the exact moment Rory hit the lamppost. They saw everything and rushed over to help.
Rory’s mum Sonia said: “The surgeon called 999 and asked for the air ambulance to be sent because he was so concerned about Rory’s injuries. He crashed with such a force that the surgeon thought Rory may have damaged his hip and pelvis, as well as breaking his leg.”
The crew of Cornwall Air Ambulance took just minutes to reach the scene and landed close by before treating the youngster, who was in agonising pain and clearly distressed.
After assessing Rory’s condition, critical care paramedics Mick McLachlan and Kris Lethbridge took the decision to administer Ketamine, a powerful pain relieving drug. The use of Ketamine requires specialist training and is one of the advanced critical care skills the Cornwall Air Ambulance crew bring to an emergency.
Sonia said: “Rory’s friend phoned his mum, who got hold of me and I rushed down there. It all happened so quickly. They gave Rory some strong medicine to make him go to sleep, braced his leg and strapped him up on a stretcher.
“They asked if I wanted to go in the air ambulance with Rory so I got in and we flew to Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske. The amazing thing is it only took eight minutes to fly from Padstow to the hospital.”
Rory underwent a series of x-rays from his neck down to his knees, but unbelievably the only injury he suffered was a broken leg. Following an operation, the youngster spent eight days in hospital before he was allowed home.
Sonia said: “Considering the speed Rory hit that lamppost with, he’s lucky he didn’t have more injuries. The Cornwall Air Ambulance crew were amazing with Rory. It is a wonderful thing to have in Cornwall. We are incredibly grateful and I would urge everyone to support this wonderful charity.”
Rory added: “I think it’s cool the air ambulance is there to help people who are hurt. And my friends think it’s cool I got to ride in it.”
You can support Cornwall Air Ambulance, a charity that relies on donations to keep flying and saving lives, by donating here.