It was a grey rainy day in October 2022, when Alicia found herself in a terrifying situation at the Tepapa intersection between the Thermal Explorer Highway and State Highway 28, not far from her home in Matamata.
“I was driving on my own that day and had a frightening motor vehicle accident. Incredibly lucky for me, the first two people on the scene were an off-duty EMT (ambulance officer) and an off-duty nurse who immediately contacted emergency services,” says Alicia.
“It was an awful accident that left me with multiple open fractures on the scene, the paramedics were concerned I could lose my foot as they struggled to find a pulse.
“To make matters worse, I was over an hour away from Waikato Hospital, and my injuries were severe enough to need immediate medical attention,” Alicia says describing her terrifying situation.
“I heard the sound of the rescue helicopter approaching and despite my pain and fear, I felt a sense of relief knowing that help was on the way.”
The Aerocool Rescue Helicopter was quickly landing near where Alicia lay, the crew stabilising her for her short 15-minute flight to Waikato Hospital
“As the rescue helicopter lifted me into the air, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm and massive relief. The crew were just so calm, reassuring, and complete experts at keeping my mind occupied during the short flight. I remember the crew asking me how I was doing, and I was able to put my thumbs up back at them, knowing that I only had broken bones and not a serious head or spinal injury. It was such a huge relief.” says Alicia.
“After my surgery, I spent six weeks at Waikato Hospital and a further four weeks at Pohlen Hospital in Matamata before being discharged home. My recovery has been slow, and I am still relearning to walk, but I am slowly becoming more independent. The experience has taught me the value of having a great support network, and I am so grateful for the love and support of my family, partner, and friends.” Alicia says.
“The rescue helicopter service is vital to New Zealanders. The rescue helicopter crew meet people on the worst day of their lives. I am incredibly grateful to the crew that took me to Waikato Hospital that day, and I cannot thank them enough for their care, expertise, and reassurance.
“The work they do is truly lifesaving, and they are often the difference between life and death for those in need of emergency medical attention. I may not have a foot if it wasn't for the rescue helicopter crew that came to my aid that day.
“I want to say a huge thank you to all those who donate to the rescue helicopter to keep it in the air, helping people just like me,” says a very grateful Alicia.