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Patient Stories

Here for all ...

Due to patient confidentiality, we don't know the names or contact information of the people that we help unless they get in touch with us.  If you have been airlifted, or know someone who has been, our Patient Liaision Officer Debbie Gregory would love to hear from you.  You can email Debbie or ring her 01392 466666.  Alternatively complete and return our patient form.

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Below you will find a few stories from some of the patients we have helped.  Many of the full stories have featured in our Helipad magazine too.  If you would like to receive our magazine, just three times a year, you it's very easy to sign up.


Harry Tansley

Harry recovers in hospital following his unlikely Christmas Day accident.

Christmas was very different for one Exwick family this year but, fortunately, with a very happy ending.

With all the excitement of being on school holiday and Father Christmas due in just a few days, 8-year old Harry Tansley from Exwick was happy to be out scooting and skating along Exmouth seafront with his dad, his older brother Ben and their friend, Will. 

They were having a lovely time until, for no known reason, Harry lost his balance on his scooter and fell – with the handlebar of his scooter catching Harry’s throat as he toppled. The effect was immediate; Harry had a tear in his windpipe causing air to form under his skin with every breath he took.

Read more

Simon Griffen

Simon recovers from his extensive barbecue injuries in hospital.

A family barbeque ended in distaster for Simon when the flame caught his t-shirt alight.

He was airlifted to Derriford Hospital to be stabilised before being transferred (again by air) to the specialist burns unit at Morriston Hospital in Swansea. 

Read more






John Walster

A game of tennis takes a worrying turn when John collapses, but Devon Air Ambulance is quick on the scene.

John Walster and his wife Jackie, from West Alvington near Kingsbridge, were enjoying a weekend away at the Manor House Hotel near Okehampton in May 2015. It was a reunion with 23 friends from the amateur dramatic group they had been part of when they lived in East Horsley in Surrey. 

The hotel offers sports, activities and crafts for all guests and the Walsters were enjoying a game of tennis doubles with friends Jack Griffith and Jeff Luther when John collapsed. 

Read more



Kate stands by the helicopter with one of the Devon Air Ambulance medical crew.

Kate was born with six holes in her heart, but didn’t find this out until she had a stroke at age 39. She suffered a variety of serious and life threatening conditions such as Ventricular Tachycardia (racing heart beat), Atrial Fibrillation (which causes the heart to beat irregularly causing tiredness, dizziness and shortness of breath), as well as Ventricular Fibrillation,where the heart goes into spasm and stops beating. The severity of the symptoms of these conditions resulted in Kate having several collapses and blackouts. Between 2006 and 2013, She was airlifted from Bude “on numerous occasions” due to the life threatening nature of her condition.  

Read more


Jamil recovers from his motorbike accident in Derriford Hospital.

Jamil and his friend were riding on their motorbikes from Dawlish to Exmouth when Jamil was involved in a collision with a lorry and found himself in need of urgent medical assistance.

He was airlifted to Derriford Hospital where he spent the following five weeks. He has now had a total of 12 operations to repair his knee! 

Read more


Derrick Small

Derrick and his wife Janet in good health as they pose by the helicopter with one of the air ambulance crew.

Events on Christmas Day 2014 took an unexpected turn for Derrick Small when he suffered a cardiac arrest whilst out on a cycle ride with his son, David.

Delighted that his dad's recovery meant he could attend his wedding, David offered to support the Trust.

Read more


Little Freddie pictured in hospital, then with his family following his Christmas day airlift drama.

Freddie fell out of a first floor bedroom window on Christmas Day 2011. He was flown from his home in Bradworthy  to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, then to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol for specialist treatment.

He has made a full recovery.

His granddad Ian was airlifted a few months before after being stung in the mouth by a bee that was hiding in his can of drink !


Medical student, Linzie, needed an urgent transfer by air ambulance between hospitals, Here she is post glitter run looking much better.

Medical student Linzie was used to seeing the Air Ambulance at work but never imagined she would need the service.

She went from feeling unwell to liver failure, needing a transfer to Kings College in London for an urgent liver transplant.  

“I have such gratitude to Devon Air Ambulance. I would never have survived a lengthy road journey to London. I know in huge part it's down to DAAT that I’m still here.”


Little Mabel poses with her family following her stroke.

South Devon three year old Mabel told dad Harry her head was hurting and she felt poorly. Her eyes then would not focus.  

Calling 999 the land crew paramedic assessed her and recognised she had a cerebral bleed and had suffered a stroke.

She was taken to Torbay Hospital and then airlifted for specialist treatment at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol. She continues to make good progress. 

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