London’s Air Ambulance (LAA) has launched an urgent fundraising appeal to replace its two helicopters.
The charity is hoping to raise £15m by 2024 to replace the aircraft as part of its Up Against Time campaign.
As part of the launch hundreds of volunteers staff and off-duty crew from across the charity will be on the streets in the capital this morning (Tuesday, October 4) collecting donations.
London’s Air Ambulance, which assists an average of five seriously injured patients per day, receives 89% of its funding through public donations.
Last year the charity assisted 1,714 patients at the scene.
The group’s medical director, Dr Tom Hurst, said without support some patients would not be reached in time.
The role of the helicopters is to take medics to the patient quickly to perform life-saving treatment at the scene, such as open chest surgery and blood transfusions.
One patient to have received treatment from the LAA is Claire.
Claire survived an attack from her ex-partner who stabbed her repeatedly in her home after she had fallen asleep.
Claire’s daughter managed to call 999 using Siri on a mobile phone, ultimately saving her mother’s life.
Due to the severity of Claire’s injuries, the air ambulance’s advanced trauma team was instantly dispatched and gave her an emergency anaesthetic and a blood transfusion at the scene.
Another patient to have received emergency care is 27-year-old junior doctor Matt.
A few years ago, while in medical school, Matt was walking along the pavement with a group of friends when a car failed to follow the road.
As the driver collided into the group of young men, Matt hit the windscreen and landed on the roadside.
Due to the severity of Matt’s injuries, the advanced trauma team was dispatched and put him into an induced coma at the scene.
Matt was then taken to St Mary’s Hospital, with a broken skull, jaw, eye socket, femur and knee ligaments - to name only a few of his injuries.
He also had a life-threatening brain injury which required emergency surgery.
In 2018, Matt had made such a significant recovery that he was able to return to medical school and he has now qualified as a junior doctor.
Dr Hurst said: "When patients are so seriously injured there is no time to reach hospital, our medics give life-saving treatment at the scene, like open-chest surgery and blood transfusions.
"But we’re a charity, and without public support we wouldn’t be able to reach our patients in time to help them.”
"Right now, we have an urgent need to replace our helicopter fleet - the current helicopters are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain.
"It’s only with the backing of the public that we can continue to serve all those who live and work in London when they need us most."