Three nominations for EAAA at the Air Ambulance Awards

On Monday 12th November the Air Ambulance Association Awards will take place in London. We are delighted that our colleagues have been nominated in three of these categories, and no matter what the outcome we couldn’t be more proud of them.

Special Incident Award

Nominated in this category is an incident involving a three-year-old girl named Annabel who suffered a cardiac arrest. On 9 February 2018 Dr Jon Barratt, Dr Victor Inyang (Supervising Consultant) and Critical Care Paramedic Chris Neil received a call at 09:49 tasking them to a three-year-old child in cardiac arrest. Seventeen minutes later pilots Gavin Blake and Olly Gates landed the helicopter in a garden adjacent to the pre-school that Annabel attended.

Nursery staff had successfully resuscitated Annabel but she was deeply unconscious and her airway was compromised. The EAAA team gave her a general anaesthetic in order to protect her airway and breathing. It is incredibly rare to anaesthetise a young child outside of a hospital so the team carefully modified drug dosages based on her age and weight. It took the team just sixteen minutes to complete the process. After gaining control of Annabel’s airway the crew made the decision to fly her to Addenbrooke’s, which is home to the regional paediatric intensive care unit, to get her to the best specialist treatment. The team gave ketamine to maintain anaesthesia and specialist drugs to protect and stabilise her heart. (Annabel’s full story and all the interventions from the team will be shared after the awards).

This incident was nominated as the chain of survival was perfectly formed that day; it was undoubtedly the quick response, professional skills and outstanding patient care by everyone involved in a devastating situation that resulted in a lovely three-year-old girl being saved. Everyone involved, including; the Pre-school staff, the ambulance crew, the EAAA team, the hospital team and the doctor who went above and beyond to get Annabel’s mother by her side helped to make a little girl well again.

Annabel’s parents, William and Rebecca, will be joining us at the awards and no matter the result they see every day why we are so proud of everyone involved in Annabel’s case.

Charity Staff Member of the Year – Jen Easton

Jen has become an inspiration to everyone at East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) since she started working here 15 years ago. She is the backbone of the charity and is a daily reminder to all of us as to why we are here.

Jen’s 18-year-old daughter Emma suffered a tragic horse riding accident in February 2002, sustaining fatal head injuries. EAAA attended Emma and airlifted her to hospital, but sadly her injuries could not be overcome and she tragically passed away just days before her 19th birthday. Despite the tragic circumstances Jen set up the Emma Easton Memorial Fund to raise funds for EAAA (something it has done with incredible success). After this Jen joined EAAA as an administrator (15 years ago) and has been here ever since.

Jen will be retiring at the end of the year and wrote a note to charity staff detailing her reason for leaving the charity after 15 years of service, she said; “Through the very nature of why I joined EAAA, it will always be a huge part of my life.  I feel that it has certainly seen me through some incredibly dark days and has become my daily reason in giving me the incentive to get up each morning.  But, I feel now that I need to start a new part of my life standing on my own two feet. Friends, colleagues and crew have come and gone and I have been truly blessed with the opportunities I have experienced over the past 15 years.  It will be very strange and sad, not seeing your faces each morning.”

Need we say more – she has been with EAAA every step of the way, has been integral to our growth and with Emma’s Memorial fund has raised an incredible sum of money for the charity. This may be an award for staff member of the year and Jen is deserving of this and so much more, to us she is an EAAA legend.

Air Ambulance Innovation Award – The McQueen Charter

In 2016 Carl McQueen, a doctor who worked in the industry, tragically took his own life. This prompted the regional air ambulances along with EEAST to consider whether we are happy with our own mental health policies and the way in which we support our staff. The very nature of the work we do means that staff can be under a huge amount of pressure and we need to take extra precautions to be sure that we as organisations are supportive, understanding and clear on what each service provides.

With that in mind Sarah Atkins (EAAA), Caroline Beresford (EHAAT), Seetle Patel (Magpas) and Tracy Nicholls (EESAT) have produced the McQueen Charter, which will assist in promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in our workforce. This charter is based upon four areas we can influence, otherwise known as the four sectors of responsibility: managing distress, ongoing support, pre-engagement and organisational learning. Ensuring our staff remain strong and supported will provide the most effective workforce and therefore the best possible team for our patients.

We take a proactive approach to ensuring the mental wellbeing of our staff is well looked after and are incredibly proud of this collaborative project and the team who have worked hard to put it together.