[A] TEENAGER who sustained a head injury after a collision during her first driving lesson has thanked the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) for coming to her aid.
On the day she turned 17, Allanah Fell-Johnston, from Wigton, was having her very first driving lesson as a birthday present on September 2, 2015.
The instructor’s car was stationary at the time, and parked up on the road from Cargo to Kingmoor Road in Carlisle.
Miss Fell-Johnston, 19, was sat in the passenger side and had just taken her seatbelt off so she could swap seats with her instructor when a lorry unexpectedly crashed into the back of the car.
Alison Johnston, the mother of Miss Fell-Johnston, 47, said: “Because Allanah’s seatbelt was undone, the airbag didn’t go off and she knocked her head. She was found with her head in the footwell underneath the instructor’s feet, while her feet were outside of the window.”
Both of them were cut out of the car by firefighters and the GNAAS doctor-led trauma team assessed and treated Miss Fell-Johnston before airlifting her to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
Mrs Johnston said: “She spent five days in the RVI and she seemed to be in shock because she didn’t talk to us and couldn’t walk. Then we got a phone call from the hospital and was told she was walking around the ward shouting for me. She had CT scans and they checked her hips, but there were no broken bones.
“She can’t remember what happened and she’s lost her self-confidence. Her memory isn’t quite the same and there’s three weeks after the accident where there are chunks missing.”
Miss Fell-Johnston recently visited the GNAAS base and was reunited with the crew who treated her.
She said: “It’s been interesting to meet the team because I can’t remember what happened. The accident has changed my outlook on life.”
Dr Mike Davison added: “Allanah was semi-conscious and there were fears she had a serious head injury when we were treating her, so it was great to see she’s made a good recovery. I’m pleased that she’s progressed really well and has managed to get on with her life.”
Miss Fell-Johnston has passed her theory test and hopes to pass her practical driving test soon. After college she said that she would like to become a travel photographer and see the world.
GNAAS is reliant on public donations to survive. Last year they needed to raise £5.1m to keep flying. To find out how you can help, please visit www.gnaas.com or call 01325-487263.