Our air ambulance

“Oh f***” was the first thing I said when I realised my arm was caught in the linkage of my tractor. When I say caught, I mean crushed, trapped, no way of getting out. My arm was crushed to half the width it should be, the pain was like nothing I’d ever experienced before and I couldn’t get out of the situation.

It was a stupid accident and has taught me a very tough lesson, but the happy outcome for my left arm was due to two things – a mobile phone and an air ambulance. Fortunately for me I had a phone in my pocket, which I could use with my one free hand to call an ambulance and explain just how much trouble I was in. Immediately they recognised I would need to get to a hospital fast, and that meant an air ambulance.

The cut on my arm a few weeks after the operation and staples removed

After excellent service from local co-responders and paramdeics, the air ambulance arrived to pick me up direct from St Martin’s. On a clear blue summer’s day it landed in a small field and off I went to take a ride to Treliske Hospital in Truro. I had an amazing flight, the morphine having kicked in a bit and was able to sit up, chat to the crew and see dolphins from the helicopter! Being dropped off right in front of A&E is something pretty special, though does make you feel a little self conscious!

To cut a long story short, I was operated on later that day – a crush injury in a limb means that the swelling can cut off all blood supply and nerves, so it needs to be opened up to allow swelling to reduce. The surgeon said afterwards “the operation went well, all the dead tissue came back to life. But another 2 or 3 hours and the damage would have been permanent, and you would have lost the use of your lower arm”.

Wow, that hit hard. I realised just how much both good and bad luck I had had. Good that the air ambulance got me to excellent care very quickly and effectively saved the use of my arm.

Nearly 4 years on my arm is 95% what it used to be. I still have the scars, have gained some wisdom, and will continue fundraising for this charity that provides an essential service that, incredibly, is not government funded! Last year we raised £100 on the veg stall, and this year will be looking to raise more.

Please support Cornwall Air Ambulance if you can:


Jonathan Smith

I started Scilly Organics in 2003, and it was the first certified organic farm on the Islands. We continue to supply the highest quality fruit and vegetables, available fresh on our stall and at certain eateries on Scilly.