7 Mar 2022

Philip Griffiths

After dropping his son at work and collecting some groceries from Sainsbury’s on 29 July 2021, Phil was expecting a simple journey back to his wife, daughter and granddaughter at home. However, what happened next was nothing but simple.

Driving through the area of Croydon, Phil lost control of his car and crashed into a lamppost. Shortly after which, his stationary vehicle was then hit by a travelling bus.

“All I remember is being upside down in the car, screaming for someone to get me out. I don’t know how long I was in there for, but the seatbelt was wrapped around my legs and my head was dangling on the floor in a puddle of blood,” said Phil.

London's Air Ambulance advanced trauma team arriving at the scene
Our advanced trauma team arriving at the scene

Phil was critically injured with a broken neck at T1/T4, several broken ribs and a snapped sternum. He was running out of time in the car. On the other side of the city, London’s Air Ambulance were dispatched by aircraft and within minutes, the advanced trauma team were at the roadside to provide Phil urgent rapid response care. Working with the fire brigade, the team managed to carefully extricate Phil from the car and stabilise him for a transfer to St George’s Hospital.

Phil was in the ICU at St George’s and then was moved to the CCU. After a few weeks, he was then transferred to St Helier Hospital – a general hospital nearer to his home in Beddington, Croydon.

Phil and London's Air Ambulance trauma team arrive at St George's Hospital
Phil and the team arriving at St George's Hospital

The accident has left Phil paralysed from the chest down, and recovery has been a difficult journey. “I often feel like I’m taking one step forward and three steps back,” said Phil. As well as physical challenges, Phil’s mental health was affected too. “In hospital I did get very depressed and I did have suicidal thoughts. But I have my children to think about.”

The accident has affected Phil’s whole family. “My wife and daughter are disabled, and I used to be their carer. Now, my son is having to do the caring alongside his full time job. It’s been a massive trauma for all of us.”

As Phil continues the tough journey of physio and rehab, he focuses on his family, and his appreciation for the London’s Air Ambulance Charity. “All I want to say is thank you so much. The work you do is amazing, and because of you, I’m still here with my family.”

Channel 4 have recently aired a documentary called “Emergency”, featuring Phil, the London’s Air Ambulance team and other frontline trauma services to help spread awareness of the life-saving work that occurs every day in the capital.

“The documentary will be good,” explained Phil, “as people need to be shown just how good you are and how you help people so well”. The four-part documentary is available to watch now.

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