It was 4:00PM on an ordinary Monday but the next few hours were crucial to saving Adrian’s life.
“68 years old, with busy jobs, a busy family, and no health issues. You just never think about it. But there’s the unknown, accidents and health events – they can surprise anyone,” says Adrian.
Adrian was getting in his car after a Palmerston North City Council meeting when he noticed he felt a bit unwell. His GP was unavailable, so Adrian went home to rest, hoping the pain would blow over.
When 20 minutes had passed, Adrian realised something was seriously wrong.
His Grandson Tyler was only 5 minutes away, and when he arrived to take his Grandad to A&E, Adrian was hanging onto the letterbox to hold himself up. He had already lost feeling in one of his legs.
A&E got straight to work and quickly recognised the signs. Adrian was having an Aortic Dissection – a literal tear in his heart, and every minute that passed risked it splitting open beyond the point of repair.
They were lucky how quickly they caught it, but Wellington Hospital’s cardiac department was Adrian’s only hope of survival. Life Flight was called.
Despite his fear, Adrian was reassured by the medical system in place around him. He didn’t know what was next for him, but he knew he was in the best hands.
“It was amazing to witness the health sector all working together seamlessly,” he says.
Adrian’s son Nigel joined him during the flight, and Adrian’s Daughter Amanda was driving from Lower Hutt to meet them at Wellington Hospital.
“The Life Flight crew were very good to me and Nigel, they made us feel safe,” said Adrian
On the way to the hospital, Amanda couldn’t help but look up her dad’s condition, what she found left her speechless. Each hour that goes by untreated significantly increases the mortality rate, 24 hours after the tear forms, only half of people survive.
Luckily, help was on its way. Adrian and Nigel had just touched down at the Life Flight base in Wellington Airport and were loaded onto the patient transfer vehicle.
Amanda saw her Dad for no more than a minute before he was brought into the operating theatre.
Adrian didn’t come out for 12 hours.
When his stretcher was finally rolled back through those doors Amanda and Nigel were beyond relieved, the operation had been a success. They’d got to him in time.
The ICU teams were amazed at how quickly Adrian recovered, and he moved into Amanda’s home just 13 days after his life-saving operation.
The recovery has been outstanding when you think about it. I’m still walking up hills and doing voluntary work. I can’t work for the whole 8 hours of a day, but I’m very grateful for what I can still do and for all the people who made that possible.
That’s thanks to you, our generous community who donate time and money to ensure this service for our community. Ever since his flight Adrian has looked for ways to give back,
“I’ve volunteered for Life Flight a number of times and am always amazed at what people come along with. Putting just $5, or $10, or $20 notes quickly adds up when it’s a whole town. You can always get the community behind you.”
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