Kenneth Lovell was rushed to the East Midlands Major Trauma Centre in October 2014 after he was knocked off his motorbike in a horrific road traffic collision. The incident happened on the A46 near Syston, in Leicestershire. A car ploughed into Kenneth, slamming him into the central reservation – and promptly drove off, potentially leaving him for dead.
‘It was a classic hit and run – and the driver still hasn’t been found,’ says Kenneth, 54. ‘It’s just lucky that there were other people around at the time who stopped to help me and call the emergency services. My injuries were very serious and included three broken ribs, a punctured lung and several fractured vertebrae in my neck and back.’
The emergency services called in the air ambulance and Kenneth was flown to the East Midlands Major Trauma Centre at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. Like all air ambulance patients at the moment, he completed his journey by road ambulance as the current helicopter landing site is about a mile away from the hospital.
‘I don’t remember the helicopter flight – but I do recall the road transfer,’ says Kenneth. ‘It’s all a bit hazy but I have a vague recollection of being sent for a CT scan soon after arriving at the Emergency Department. Then, once I was stabilised, they sent me up to the Major Trauma Unit at ward C30 for the night before surgery the next day.’
Once in theatre, expert surgeons worked to repair the damage to Kenneth’s spine. His eighth thoracic vertebra (T8) was rebuilt, and eight titanium rods and screws were fitted to either side of his spine. His broken ribs were also plated to help them heal as well as possible. Kenneth’s neck injuries didn’t require surgery, although he had to wear a neck collar for some time after the accident to help immobilise the damaged area.
Kenneth spent six days on C30 altogether before he was discharged to continue his recovery at home in the village of Knowle, near Solihull. Since then, he has made good progress and can now drive a car again, although he hasn’t yet returned to work as an HGV driver.
‘I was told to take six months’ rest from work, which was great at first, but after five months of daytime TV I can’t wait get back in the driving seat! I went back to the QMC for a couple of outpatient appointments but I’ve now been discharged completely. All the staff at the Major Trauma Centre have been cracking from start to finish – providing brilliant care and doing a fantastic job.’
As a former air ambulance patient, Kenneth is keen to support Nottingham Hospitals Charity’s Saving Lives Helipad Appeal, which is raising funds to build an onsite helipad at QMC. The new helipad will reduce transfer times for air ambulance patients from around 20 minutes to less than five – helping save time, to save lives.
‘It’s very important that the QMC has an onsite helipad,’ says Kenneth. ‘Time is of the essence when it comes to getting critically-injured patients to hospital – and not having a helipad means there’s a missing link in the current system. With a new helipad right on the hospital’s doorstep, patients with life-threatening injuries will get faster access to the first-class care provided by the East Midlands Major Trauma Centre.’