The Hunts Post has declared May to be Magpas Month – a month to highlight the work of the emergency medical charity and to help raise money to ensure it can continue its life-saving work. In the first of our special reports, HYWEL BARRETT met a biker whose foot was saved by Helimedix Dr Fiona Bowles and paramedic Dan Cody when he was thrown 20-feet from his bike on a bend near Abbots Ripton.
JON Parsell shattered his left shin, broke his right foot and seriously damaged his right shoulder when he came off his motorbike after he rode over an oil spillage on a bend on the B1090, close to the Hall Farm turning at Abbots Ripton, last year.
At about 10.30am on July 26, Jon left home on his BMW GS1200 – his 40th birthday present – and was heading for a camping trip on the Scottish border with friend and neighbour Dave Richards.
They were travelling towards the A1(M) at Sawtry, riding through Abbots Ripton en-route.
But the 44-year-old’s journey was cut short just 10 minutes after leaving his home in Houghton.
“It was a week after the Secret Garden Party and there were loads of people there packing up,” he told The Hunts Post. “As we passed, I slowed down to around 40mph and the next thing I knew was my handlebar was all over the place and then I saw the ground rushing at me.
“I hit a sign post and ended on my back in a ditch looking at the sky. I checked each of my hands, then my right leg, and then my left. It wasn’t where it should have been and was bent outwards.
“My first thought was to get my phone out and take a picture. By then Dave was standing above me, calling an ambulance. I just tried to keep calm.”
It’s a painful memory. As the mechanical engineer starts to recall the first moment he met Magpas Helimedix volunteers, tears start filling his eyes.
“The next thing I remember was seeing the orange of the Magpas suits. When Dr Fiona Bowles said I would be OK, I knew at that moment that everything would be fine.
“They just made me feel at ease. Dr Bowles cut my boot off and tried to find a pulse. She told Magpas paramedic Dan Cody that she couldn’t find one. She said to me that it wasn’t good, but moved my foot, and found my pulse. She then reassured me, telling me that it was a good sign.
“I’ve been told that, if there wasn’t a pulse, I could have lost my foot.”
He added: “I just can’t help but get emotional when I speak about the relief I felt when Magpas arrived. I don’t want to think about if I was alone at the time.”
Jon was given morphine and ketamine to ease the pain. Dave rang Jon’s wife Amanda, who rushed to Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon with their two children, Lucy, 10, and Oliver, 15.
In the few minutes it took for Magpas to reach the scene of the accident, Jon was comforted by a kind passer-by who stopped to help. Debra Jennings, from Sawtry, climbed into the ditch next to Jon.
“She held my hand, and just kept saying I would be OK. She really helped at the beginning,” Jon added. “I never got to thank her, though.”
Jon spent the next week in Hinchingbrooke Hospital where he woke up to see his leg in a Fixator – an external metal splint. He was then transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, to have skin grafts to cover his wounds, which were still open.
After a further week he was discharged.
While recovering at home, Jon had regular visits from nurses Nicki Sharman, Jenna Ward and Becky Woodward, who cleaned the areas around the pins sticking out of his leg.
Jon is grateful to Magpas and everyone who helped pull him from that ditch, patch him up and get him back home to his family.
“I have to thank the Magpas team for their instant reassurance and for helping me in my time of need, but also the teams in Hinchingbrooke and Addenbrooke’s hospitals, the community nurses and Pc Paddy Reeve, who even visited me in hospital.”
Dr Bowles said: “We were probably the first people there, as our base was so close, and we found a motorbike at the top of a ditch and a bloke at the bottom.
“Jon is one of those patients that will always stick in my mind – even though he was in a lot of pain he kept on making jokes.
“What we were able to do that an ambulance crew couldn’t was to sedate Jon, to straighten his leg to allow his blood to circulate and to get him out of the ditch.”
Jon is now only a few weeks away from full recovery and is already planning to buy a new motorcycle.
“Motorcycling is in my blood, and I am looking forward to getting back on the road on two wheels, although I’m not too sure my wife will be as happy.”
INFORMATION: Download your sponsorship form by clicking on the link at the top right of the page.To find out more about Magpas visit www.magpas.org.uk