The HELP Appeal is the only charity in the country that funds helipads at Major Trauma Centres, key hospitals and air ambulance bases. So far it has helped 25 helipads across the country to become a reality. But there is still so much more to do including fulfilling its pledge to donate £2.5 million to ensure a new helipad is built at Sheffield Children’s hospital.
Matt and Genna Kik, who live in Dore, Sheffield, are passionate that there should be a helipad at this hospital, after their daughter Ellena, who has a congenital condition, became dangerously ill while they were on holiday.
Matt Kik: “Shortly after Ellena was born, the doctors discovered that she had a congenital illness affecting her food pipe and airway. We were devastated to find that she had such a rare condition. The doctors and nurses who provided intensive neo-natal care before Ellena had surgery were incredible, but we were told that she may stop breathing at any time, so they gave us resuscitation training.
“After Ellena left hospital, we decided to take her on holiday to Sherwood Forest, when she was a few months old. One day she began coughing, choking and spluttering. I thought I know what to do, so I tried to restart her breathing again, but she didn’t respond. She started to turn blue and I watched the life go out of her eyes and the rest of the family was around me looking on. I just thought, ‘oh god, she’s gone’. Finally, a rescue breath from me brought Ellena back to life. The paramedics who arrived shortly afterwards recommended that she should be transferred immediately by air ambulance to hospital, so my wife Genna flew with Ellena, while I drove our car to the Sheffield Children’s hospital.”
Genna Kik: “As the air ambulance couldn’t land at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, we had to hover over nearby Weston Park, for what seemed like a very long time. I remember that it was a really sunny day, so the park was full of families enjoying themselves. Unfortunately, this meant that it took, for what seemed like forever, for everyone to move a safe distance away before the helicopter could land.
“We were then met by a team of nurses with a trolley, but Ellena was so small and with the park and road to the hospital so uneven, I decided it would be safer to carry her instead.
“Our journey to the hospital then faced another obstacle. We had to wait for the traffic lights to change, before we could run across a very busy road and dash to the expert care that Ellena needed urgently.”
Thankfully, due to her parents’ quick intervention and the hospital care she received, Ellena has had no lasting effects.
“Very quickly Ellena was in a fantastic mood again – she was white as a sheet, but happy and laughing like her normal self.”
Because of the delays that Ellena’s air ambulance faced in landing at the park and then reaching the emergency department, Genna and Ellena arrived at the hospital just 10 minutes before Matt who’d also had to drive through very busy, rush hour traffic.
The highly-trained paramedics aboard every flight are often fighting against tremendous odds – and the sooner they can get the victim of a serious accident or illness to a specialist doctor the better a patient’s chances of survival.
Having a helipad beside the emergency department saves time and can save lives.