A man has thanked the public and paramedics who helped him after falling 40 feet from a fourth floor window in Hove.
Just over two years ago, Daniel Cheetham of Hove, now 30, fell from the window into a basement flat area, suffering serious injuries.
A neighbour - who is a firefighter - saw Mr Cheetham fall and called 999 before rushing out to help him. An off duty doctor also stopped to help.
Mr Cheetham said: “I really don’t remember anything at all of the incident itself, but it has been on my mind ever since to thank the medical people who came out to rescue me and now that I have recovered enough, I wanted to thank them in person.”
South Coast Ambulance Service's (SECAmb) clinical team leader Liam McDine arrived at the scene in less than two minutes after receiving the call.
He said: “This is a job that I can distinctly remember from being first on scene. When I arrived I didn’t know yet what had happened and to be confronted with a crowd around a seriously injured man was totally unexpected. It was immediately clear this was serious and that I needed urgent back-up.”
Several other ambulance crews were dispatched to attend, including the air ambulance service.
SECAmb student paramedic Scott Fraser and his crew mate paramedic Alexander Hudson soon arrived at the scene.
Mr Fraser said: “Daniel had suffered severe trauma and showed obvious injuries across his body. When we got there Liam had already prepared him for receiving drugs to combat his pain and to assist with blood clotting, in case of internal bleeding. We boarded him and we were ready to move him. Although he was semi-conscious, we were satisfied his condition was stable enough.”
Air ambulance medics carried out further checks and treatment before Mr Cheetham was taken by road ambulance to Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital.
He was later transported to St. George’s hospital in London where he received specialist treatment for the next six weeks followed by a further four weeks in the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (Stanmore) in spinal rehabilitation. It was found that Mr Cheetham had suffered a spinal cord injury from a broken back, multiple fractures to his left arm and wrist, and numerous fractured ribs.
“I needed four weeks of rehabilitation to re-learn the smallest of things like walking and making a cup of tea,” said Mr Cheetham. “But I have been so extremely lucky that I received immediate help from two members of the public, then the ambulance and air ambulance teams were with me so quickly and I did not have any internal organ damage.”
“I will have to live with the life-long consequences of the accident and I have learnt to accept that. I was a keen runner before but due to my injuries I’m no longer able to do that, so I’ve now taken up cycling which I’m really enjoying.
"I have learnt a lot about myself over the course of my recovery, and the whole journey has helped me refocus on what is important in life. I have realised that, over everything, what’s most important is friends, family and unrelenting positivity. That’s what’s helped me come back to as normal a life as possible. I hope to be raising money through my cycling this year to support the SECAmb services who looked after me in those critical first minutes.”
After two back operations and three operations on his left arm, Mr Cheetham received the all clear last December. He’s back to work as a recruitment agent for the pharmaceutical industry and has accepted a move to Boston, USA, with his company.
Both paramedics called to the scene were amazed to see their patient in such good health following the traumatic injuries they dealt with.
Mr McDine said: “We were just doing our job and somehow you get used to not knowing, not having feedback about your patients. It’s great to see how well Daniel has recovered and how positive he is about everything.”
Mr Fraser added: “It’s been fantastic to see him face-to-face and to know that our interventions made a difference and helped Daniel to get back to where he wants to be. We wish him all the very best for his new life in Boston.”