Cumbria Crack

Crash victim meets air ambulance medics who saved her life

GNAAS pilot Owen McTeggart, Dr Theo Weston, Kirstie Thomas, Ruth Thomas, paramedic Sarah Graham, Lee Thomas and Chloe Thomas

A young woman who suffered a brain injury after she was in a horrific car collision has met the air ambulance medics who saved her life.

Ruth Thomas, 20, a zoology student at the University Cumbria, was driving on the A5092, near her home in Grizebeck, when her car collided with a van on July 12.

Ruth Thomas

The Great North Air Ambulance Service’s (GNAAS) paramedic and doctor team were called to the scene and assessed Miss Thomas’ injuries before placing her in an induced coma and flying her to the Royal Preston Hospital.

Miss Thomas, who’s originally from Shropshire, sustained eight pelvic and lower vertebrae fractures and suffered a traumatic brain injury known as a diffuse axonal injury.

Ruth in the Royal Preston Hospital on 12th July

She remained in a coma for nearly three weeks and spent eight weeks in total at the Royal Preston Hospital before being transferred closer to home to Haywood Community Hospital, in Stoke-on-Trent where she stayed for four weeks.

Her dad Lee Thomas, who is a police officer, said: “The prognosis on the night of the collision was that it wasn’t known if she would survive the night. We’ve gone from saying goodbye to our daughter to we’ve got our daughter back. She’s about 80% on the way back to recovery.

“The doctor in the hospital said the pre-hospital care was done so well that they didn’t need to operate on Ruth’s pelvis, so we value the care she received by GNAAS as it’s given her a better outcome.

“Her memory is still an issue and her speech is an issue, but her mobility is fine, all things considered, you would hardly notice.”

The Thomas family recently visited the GNAAS base at Langwathby and met pilot Owen McTeggart, paramedic Sarah Graham and Dr Theo Weston who came to Miss Thomas’ aid on the night of the collision.

Miss Thomas who has no memory of the incident said: “It’s cool meeting Theo and Sarah. It’s quite funny because I can’t remember them. I can’t remember the crash or the air ambulance.”

Ruth and Lee Thomas

Mr Thomas added: “We’re hoping Ruth will be well enough at the start of next year to continue with her university placement at Rusland Horizons in Haverthwaite.

“We’ll never be able to thank GNAAS enough. We’ve raised £3,000 through social media, my work, my wife’s work, it’s just a small drop in the ocean. Ruth is testament, if it wasn’t for the air ambulance she wouldn’t be here.”

Last year GNAAS responded to more than 900 call-outs and needed to raise £5.1m. To find out how you can help, please visit or call 01325-487263.

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