Sadly, not all patients we attend have the happy outcomes we would wish for them. With road traffic collisions accounting for 16% of trauma incidents we were called to in 2022, sometimes a patient’s injuries are too severe, as our Research Lead Paramedic & Advanced Paramedic Critical Care, Nigel Lang describes:

'I hope anyone affected by the tragic loss of a loved one can feel reassured that those who cared for them at the time, did so not only to a high clinical standard, but also in a compassionate and kind-hearted way.  

'We understand scientifically that our clinical care is right for patients; this is based on the latest evidence available to us. But we also know that kindness and reassurance are also really important.  

It would be easy for me to say this is based on hard facts, but the truth is by witnessing suffering, we are moved to look after our patients with warmth and care, and in a way that we would wish for ourselves or our relatives.  

'However, it’s not always obvious whether a patient is suffering, for example, when a patient is unconscious. We care for them with compassion just the same, just as we do when a victim is deceased, we always work with care and dignity.'

Sometimes injuries are too extensive

Amanda Banks was one of those to lose a loved one in a road traffic collision last year.

In May 2022, Amanda’s daughter, Jade, had dropped her mum off at Taunton Hospital for a routine surgery, however, when the procedure was suddenly cancelled and Amanda tried to call Jade to let her know, she didn’t answer her phone.

Unable to reach Jade, Amanda was picked up by her younger daughter, Paige, and they set off home before travelling on to the family’s business premises. Here, Amanda heard from a local trader about an accident on the A358 Ilminster to Taunton Road – a road that Jade would not typically have taken were she not detouring to pick up breakfast on her way to meet her partner.

Though she hoped Jade had merely been held up, Amanda immediately felt something was wrong and soon after she received the phone call that every parent dreads. Jade had been involved in a road traffic collision and was severely injured.

Amanda learned from police that Jade’s car had veered across the carriageway on the A358, hitting an oncoming lorry head on. Emergency services crews were quickly on scene, including the Devon Air Ambulance helicopter. Upon arrival, it was clear from Jade’s injuries that she would need specialist critical care. The medical team worked to stabilise Jade’s condition at the scene before flying her to Bristol’s Southmead Hospital. Jade had suffered a massive head injury and her right side had been crushed on impact.  

Police took Amanda on blue lights to Bristol. Meanwhile Jade’s partner, sister, dad, and Bristol-based family, would meet her there. Along the way, Amada continued to let other family members and friends know about Jade’s accident.

Jade had arrived much sooner by air and had already been assessed and had undergone a CT scan. She was on her way to theatre when Amanda arrived. Sadly, just 20 minutes later, the medical team delivered the tragic news that Jade had passed away. 
Amanda told us:

'Jade was just 22 years old, a beautiful person, she was loved by so many people, especially her family, her wonderful partner Anthony, and, as a childminder, so many children. Jade had a natural love of little ones who absolutely adored her. From an early age she would babysit for friends and relations, looking after her cousin on a regular basis, we called her the Pied Piper, as children would follow her around as she entertained them all. She also had a part time job in the shop where we live so knew lots of people, she is dearly missed by so many.'

'Our family will never be the same, but in Jade’s memory, Anthony, her cousin Sammy and I are now proud Devon Air Ambulance volunteers, looking after collection boxes in our local area. Last Christmas, Anthony, kindly offered the use of his truck so that we could do a Christmas Tree collection which raised £520 for Devon Air ambulance as people donated to have their Christmas tree collected after Christmas.'

We can’t thank Devon Air Ambulance enough for giving Jade the best chance possible, I know she was given the best medical attention, but the impact of the collision was just too much for her to survive.

We would like to thank Anthony, Amanda, Sammy and also Jade’s sister Paige who raised funds through their Christmas tree collection scheme in 2023.

Thank you to our supporters for keeping us responding this year. 

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