Biggar man who "died" seven times thanks life-saving air ambulance crew

A Biggar man has thanked Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) for saving his life, a year after he “died” seven times.

Monday, 15th February 2021, 9:48 am
Biggar man Duncan Stevenson is thankful to still be alive
Biggar man Duncan Stevenson is thankful to still be alive

Duncan Stevenson (57) suffered a heart attack in February 2020 while visiting a remote area of rural Perthshire.

A land ambulance crew from Crieff stabilised him before setting out on the near two-hour drive to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee in worsening winter road conditions.

However, with time against them air support was requested and SCAA arranged a rendezvous at Lochearnhead to airlift Duncan the rest of the way.

Duncan would suffer cardiac arrest another six times during the journey with SCAA lead paramedic John Pritchard and colleague Richard Garside fighting to save his life.

To further complicate matters the weather was becoming incresingly challenging, but luckily for everyone on board, pilot Shaun Rose had over 8,000 flying hours and 10,000 missions behind him as he called on his experience to safely conduct the flight.

Shaun, who now works for the Government-funded Helimed 2, said: “It was without a doubt the most difficult flight of my career, and I've faced many, many challenging situations in the air.

"Afterwards, we just slapped each other on the back, had a hug and then collapsed with a cup of tea.

"The conditions meant the paramedics were working on a constantly shifting and tilting platform. They were amazing - real pros."

Duncan spent three days and had a stent inserted to the problematic artery.

He said: "I was sitting up in bed later that first evening piecing together what had happened and thanking my lucky stars that SCAA was there for me.

"One of the medical team at Ninewells Hospital told me how lucky I was to have been brought in by helicopter as I had arrested several times and needed to get to critical hospital care pretty quickly - a road ambulance would never have made it in time.

"I owe SCAA my life. I don't think I would have made it without them. When no one else can reach you - they hopefully can. I'm testament to that and their commitment to saving lives even in the most challenging circumstances."