7th Mar 2014

Their Royal Highnesses (TRH) The Earl and Countess of Wessex visited London’s Air Ambulance today as part of a tour around two charities supported by the Wessex Youth Trust (“the Trust”) on the Earl’s 50th Birthday.  TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex awarded London’s Air Ambulance a grant for over £10,000 in November 2013 towards paediatric training manikins through the Trust.

Chief Executive Officer, Graham Hodgkin, said“We were delighted to welcome the royal couple to our helipad and are extremely grateful for their support through the Wessex Youth Trust.  Serious trauma is the biggest killer in under 45s, including children and we are continuously researching new ways to save even more lives.”

The Royal party were greeted by the Chief Executive Officer and Lead Clinician of London’s Air Ambulance and 7 year old ex-patient, Iris Filbee. They were taken on a tour of the helipad, including the aircraft and medical equipment, and watched advanced trauma doctors and paramedics carry out a training scenario training with the paediatric mannequins.  After a quick visit to the operational room and introduction to the team, a cake was presented to His Royal HighnessThe Earl of Wessex to celebrate his 50th birthday and Iris Filbee presented flowers to Her Royal HighnessThe Countess of Wessex.

In November 2013, Iris Filbee fell down the stairs, while playing with her sister at her home in Greenwich, which caused a seizure. A London Ambulance Service Paramedic arrived on scene within 4 minutes and, feared the worst because Iris was unresponsive. There was a possibility that Iris might have suffered a life threatening head injury. He requested the assistance of the London’s Air Ambulance advanced trauma team.  

With only a three minute flight time to Greenwich, Dr Claire Richmond and Karen King were by Iris’ side within minutes.  After making a thorough assessment, they quickly realised that Iris had luckily survived the fall with no immediately life-threatening injury.  They administered pain relief and were able to reassure Iris’ Mum, Sarah.  Iris was taken to King’s College Hospital for further tests and made a swift recovery.  

Sarah, Iris’ Mum, said: “We feared the worst and no one wanted to risk moving her but within, what seemed like minutes, the right people were on scene making the right assessment and I felt extremely reassured. Iris feels so special to be meeting a real princess today and it is a lovely treat for her after all she has been through.”

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