Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance celebrates 15 years of service

Credit: ITV News Meridian

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance is celebrating 15 years of service.

On July 1 2007, the team took their first flight and since then doctors, paramedics, pilots and dispatch assistants have been called out to more than 15,000 emergencies across the region and beyond.

Every day, crews are called out to about four emergency missions giving the same care to patients usually seen in a hospital's emergency department.

David Sutton has been flying with the charity from the beginning and has praised the "amazing support" from the public.

He has witnessed and attended a variety of incidents, including an armed robbery in Chandler's Ford to performing open heart surgery in a patient's house.

He said: "The patient had been stabbed in the left side of his heart.

"My paramedic colleague, Mike, and I simultaneously opened the casualty's chest on the landing of the house, exposed the heart, emptied the sack around the heart full of blood and found a single hole in the left ventricle. I then blocked the hole whilst Mike transfused blood."

He added: "Quite simply, we would not have the service we do without the amazing support we have had from the public. Thanks to everyone over the years who has played their part."

Claire Danson was one of the service's patients over the last 15 years.

The 32-year-old dreamed of becoming a professional triathlete but her life changed when she collided with a tractor during a bike ride. It left her paralysed from the waist down.

It was the air ambulance who gave her specialist treatment and flew her to hospital.

Claire said: "You effectively wake up one day and your body is completely different to how you've ever known it. That can make you feel quite differently about yourself.

"I had limited knowledge of the air ambulance before my accident, but me and my family know that I wouldn't be alive today without them."