Richard Anders never imagined that he would need Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance’s help not once but twice on the same day.

On 7th February 2018, Richard Anders was out cycling with six others from Sandsfoot Café Riders, Weymouth. Little did he know that both the early and late shift crew of DSAA would come to his aid on this day. Richard tells us more…

“We had just climbed the ‘zig-zag’ to HMP The Verne on Portland. It is customary to regroup at the first zig down, before cycling onwards to Portland Bill. This is the last thing I remember until either later that evening or perhaps the next morning when in Intensive Care at Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

“I am told that, while waiting for a tailender to return from the summit, I suddenly slumped to the ground. My friends immediately recognised what had happened. My Garmin heart rate monitor trace subsequently showed that they were administering CPR within 15 seconds.

“The nurse in the group supported my head while three others took it in turns to administer CPR. Another friend cycled back up to the prison to collect a defibrillator unit. The ambulance arrived within 15 minutes, despite long queues on the roads. Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance was quick to arrive at the nearby former Naval Air and Coastguard Helicopter base, to where the ambulance transported me. After discussion between the two units and further resuscitation work on me, it was decided that the air ambulance crew would join the ambulance team and land assist me to Dorset County Hospital.

“I was soon in the operating theatre receiving treatment, which included having a stent inserted. All now seemed as well as could be expected. However, in the late afternoon, my blood pressure dived, my colour turned grey and a CT scan revealed significant internal bleeding from a lacerated liver. I was described as being ‘poorly’ by the doctor. Apparently, I was invited to say my last goodbye to my attendant family!

“The call went out for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance to return and within 15 minutes I was at Royal Bournemouth Hospital having the bleed from my liver plugged. It had been my second close call of the day; my life had again been saved by more quick thinking and particularly by the response of the air ambulance.

“Eight days later I was discharged from hospital. Four days after discharge, I was fit enough to stroll three miles. After six weeks, my broken ribs had mended enough to return to the pool and gym for gentle exercise. After ten weeks, I was swimming at reasonable intensity and cycling outdoors and while out on a ride, I noticed DSAA land nearby. I descended from the elevated trail to grab a chat with the pilot, who by coincidence, was the very same pilot (Phil Merritt) who had helped to save my life.

“After 16 weeks, I am now continuing to make a good recovery and would say I am 70% fit again. Since that day, I continue to relate the story to people I bump in to. The ambulance crew, medical teams at Dorset County Hospital and Royal Bournemouth Hospital and the crew of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance all performed superbly. I am also quick to sing the highest praise for the remarkable cycling team I was riding with that morning. Their quick thinking and most competent response not only helped to save my life against all the odds, but also paved the way for a faster than expected recovery.”

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