Pensioner 'moments away from death' after fall through greenhouse window (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Pensioner 'moments away from death' after fall through greenhouse window
A PENSIONER has spoken of her ordeal after a fall through a greenhouse window left her three minutes from death.
Pat Chamberlain, 70, of Parkside, Darlington, lost five pints of blood and spent more than six hours in surgery after slicing through an artery in her arm when she fell through the glass.
It was only thanks to the quick actions of husband Dave, 70, who whipped off his belt and used it as a tourniquet that she survived.
Great North Air Ambulance paramedics then used “battlefield techniques” to stem the bloodflow before airlifting Mrs Chamberlain to The James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, where surgeons worked for hours to save her arm.
The couple said they want to thank everybody involved in the rescue.
Speaking from her home yesterday, after spending four days in hospital, Mrs Chamberlain described the incident in which she thought she was going to die.
She said: “A great big piece of my arm was hanging off. I could see the bone. It was absolutely terrifying.
“Every time I moved, blood gushed out. I was drenched in it and I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to die here’.”
The ambulance was called by two men gardening in an adjacent property who heard Mrs Chamberlain’s screams, but after seeing the gravity of her wounds the paramedics contacted the Great North Air Ambulance, which landed on Territorial Army land close to the couple’s home.
Mrs Chamberlain said: “I was conscious the whole time.
Something inside my head was saying ‘don’t you dare go to sleep’.
“They told me afterwards that if it had been another three minutes I would have been dead.
“Dave saved my life. If he had been out, or been busy somewhere else in the house, then I wouldn’t be here now.”
A spokesman for the air ambulance said crew members were delighted that Mrs Chamberlain was back at home, and described the rescue as “a race against time”.
He praised Mr Chamberlain for buying vital time by making the tourniquet, and said: “Our paramedic and doctor team employed techniques and equipment from combat zones, which ensured Mrs Chamberlain would be able to make the journey to James Cook.
“It was a great call by the ambulance service to call in the helicopter. It was absolutely vital that Mrs Chamberlain got to hospital as quickly as possible.”
Mrs Chamberlain spent three days on a high dependency ward and, although it is hoped she will suffer no long-term damage, her arm is expected to take 18 months to heal fully.
Mr Chamberlain said: “We celebrate our golden wedding anniversary next year. We’ve certainly been through lots of things together – but this tops the lot.
“We’re so grateful to the helicopter lads and all the medical staff that Pat’s still here. It was a hell of a team effort.”
Mrs Chamberlain added: “Everybody really was fantastic and I just want to thank them all.
“I will never go into a greenhouse again.”