Who we help Patient stories A frightening time for little Ben Katharine and Andy White are the parents of Oliver, Benjamin and Alexander and they live on a farm near Wellington in Somerset. The twins, Ben and Alex, were just coming up for a year old and both were suffering from the ‘winter sniffles’ so Katharine took them along to the doctor. Alex was prescribed antibiotics for a chest infection and Benjamin was declared all clear. Later that day, Katharine and Andy commented on the heavy snow that had started to fall. During the next day, Benjamin appeared very tired and certainly wasn’t his ‘usual self’ and his parents kept a close eye on him. Overnight the snow continued to fall and, by the morning, there were drifts as high as 6-8 feet around their farm house. Frighteningly, Ben’s condition was deteriorating rapidly and Andy called 111 to ask for advice. Whilst he was on the telephone, Katharine called him explaining that their baby son’s lips had gone blue and his breathing was very shallow. The call taker heard this exchange and immediately despatched the Devon Air Ambulance. With their farmhouse completely cut off by the snow and Benjamin going downhill fast, the Air Ambulance was imperative. With instructions from the despatcher, Andy went outside wearing a bright red coat and indicated an appropriate field for the helicopter to land, where he knew the snow was less deep. The aircrew ran in and straight upstairs to see to Ben. Within a matter of minutes, young Ben was prepared for the flight to Musgrove Park in Taunton, along with Andy, leaving Katharine at home to continue looking after Alexander and Oliver. Landing in a nearby playing field, Ben and Andy were then conveyed by land ambulance for the last couple of minutes to the A&E unit at Musgrove Park. Ben’s oxygen levels were really low and he was hardly breathing – chest x-rays revealed that he had double pheumonia! He spent a week in the hospital, during which time Andy stayed as Katharine was still snow-bound at home. “It was all so frightening at the time,” explained Andy. “It all happened really fast, with Benjamin deteriorating so rapidly but knowing that there was no way a land ambulance could reach us because of the snow. Thank Goodness for the Air Ambulance, they really saved Ben’s life.” Coincidentally, less than 2 years later, when Ben was fully recovered and happily playing with his brothers in their garden, it was twin brother Alex who also needed the helicopter when he fell from their trampoline on to his head. Again, the Devon Air Ambulance came to his aid. Fortunately, he too made a full recovery. “We are so indebted to Devon Air Ambulance,” said Andy. “We know all too well how important the service is and, as the parents of TWO boys who have needed it, we just can’t say thank you enough.” We're so pleased when we hear about the happy outcomes of the patients we carry, but due to patient confidentiality we only hear from about 15% of those we help. If you have a story you'd like to share, let us know! Your experiences help our message to be heard by potential supporters.