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You are in: North Yorkshire > People > Your stories > Brave little soldier

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance

Brave little soldier

After a freak accident, five-year-old Joe Morris from York became the youngest patient to fly in the Yorkshire Air Ambulance without a parent. His mum, Helen, tells the story of what happened that fafeful day...

My two daughters, Joe and I had just had our first riding lesson and it was really good fun, so I decided to book another. While I was making the booking the children were with the ponies. I knew one of my daughters had been given an apple for the pony she’d been riding.

"I could see that part of his ear had been bitten off completely"

Helen Morris

The next thing I heard a scream, a really horrible high-pitched scream. Joe came running towards me and had his hand clamped over his right ear. I could see blood running through his fingers and he kept saying the horse had bitten him. I made him move his hand and I could see that part of his ear had been bitten off completely.

I went into complete panic mode, there was blood everywhere and he was obviously in a lot of pain. I didn’t initially know what to do. I put him in the car and thought I must get him to a hospital, but because he was in so much pain it would be better and much quicker to call the emergency services and somebody from the stables dialled 999.

The ambulance arrived and we realised the air ambulance was also in the vicinity; we could hear and see it. The road ambulance crew looked at his ear and put a dressing on it. Another paramedic had also arrived, I don’t know who he was but I have to thank him, because he was the one who had the presence of mind to go and search for the bit of the ear. He actually found it and even though half an hour had passed they washed it and kept it sterile.

After some discussion between the road and air crews, it was decided the best place for Joe would be Leeds General Infirmary. They asked me if there was someone who could look after the girls, but we live a good distance from the stables and as it was our first visit, we didn’t know anyone there, so I didn’t feel able to leave them.

I decided the best thing was for Joe to go with the air ambulance crew and I would follow on in the car. But I have to say, they were so good, so reassuring. There wasn’t really any difficulty in making that decision because I knew he would be OK.

Yorkshire Air Ambulance paramedics, Tony Wilkes and Lee Davison

Tony and Lee took Joe to hospital

It was a terrible day, it was raining and it was a horrible journey to Leeds hospital. When we got there we found where he was and luckily my husband had arrived and was with him. Joe had only been on his own for about ten minutes.

They operated on him later that night. The surgeon was very candid; he said as they had the piece (of the ear) they would see if they could re-attach it. His ear was quite ragged and he could have been left with quite a disfigurement. But, everything was on his side, he’s young, it wasn’t a huge piece that had been taken out and it was relatively clean.

A week later he had the stitches out and as the nurse was taking them out she was saying she thought it looked good. The consultant came down, and he was of the opinion the operation had been a success.

His ear was very scabby and bloody. We washed his hair one night and the scabs just came away and we could see that it was pretty much perfect. It had worked really well and we were absolutely over the moon at what they’d managed to achieve.

His ear doesn’t look any different to the other ear and I think he’s a very lucky boy. The outcome has been pretty fantastic and that’s all down to both the land and air ambulance crews.

They had the presence of mind to look for the piece of Joe’s ear in the first place and then get him to the right hospital very quickly, where he got the treatment he needed.

The air ambulance crew were brilliant. Joe said they talked to him all the time and pointed out things on the ground to him as they flew to Leeds. He didn’t even realise I wasn’t there! He was so excited about going in the helicopter.

And the crew’s explanation of what must have happened – the horse must have thought Joe’s ear was a sugar-lump! 

Helen Morris

last updated: 07/07/2009 at 15:03
created: 07/10/2008

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