Having been the editor of Beeline for many years, it never ceases to amaze me how incredibly brave and inspirational people are. With
every edition comes numerous stories of dedication and commitment, both from the work of our clinicians, to those who do whatever they can to raise funds and support us. It’s inspiring to write about and one of the most pleasurable parts of my job

Brave is a word that I associate with the patients who share their stories with you, in the hope that it will inspire others to support us. Every story that you read has come from their hearts and is often difficult to tell, but tell they do. On behalf of the charity, my sincere thanks go to them all, as without their courage to do this, you would never know the full impact of our service.

I’ve worked for the charity for over 12 years and often talk about the amazing work of our crew. Never did I think that I would experience their work first-hand, but on the 1st October, they tried to save my dad.

Tracy Bartram, Dorset & Somerset air Ambulance Communications Manager tells us more...

My Story

After a short break away to Stratford, mum and dad were returning home by coach (a journey that took six hours). Dad hadn’t been feeling well, so I said that I would meet them at an earlier stop en-route, to get them home quicker. When they arrived, dad was obviously in pain; he told me he thought he might have appendicitis so we made the decision to drive straight to hospital instead. Unfortunately, we never made it.

Dad was sat in the front seat and mum was in the back. We were only 10 minutes from the hospital when dad shouted the words ‘it’s gone’ and collapsed. I asked him what had gone…. the pain? But he didn’t respond. I began shouting louder to try and wake him up and pulled into a layby outside a cottage. I began to panic, and pressed my horn a few times, in hope that someone would hear me. I told mum to call 999.

A kind man came out from the cottage and helped me get dad out of the car; the call handler told us to lay him flat. Just as we were about to start CPR, I looked up and the paramedics were by our side; they were there in no time at all. They took over dad’s care and all that mum and I could do was watch. After a while, I heard them say the word ‘HEMS’ and knew exactly what that meant. Hearing the helicopter overhead and then seeing three of ‘my’ crew (Sean Santos, Steve Westbrook and Owen Hammett) walk towards us is something I will never forget.

I can’t tell you how hard they all tried and how well mum and I were cared for throughout. I’ve heard numerous times how compassionate and calm the crews that work for our emergency services are, but to have experienced it myself, I can honestly say how true that is.

Dad suffered a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, something that he never knew he had. I believe to this day that he knew he wasn’t going to make it to hospital. If I hadn’t picked them up early, he would have potentially died on the coach, with only mum by his side. He made sure I was there to look after her and he made sure that my air ambulance colleagues, were there to look after me.

NEXT: Sophie's Story

If you've been inspired by Tracy's story and would like to help us to continue saving lives, we would be grateful to receive your donation. No matter how big or small, every penny donated really will make a big difference! Thank you.