In less than 10 minutes of being activated, Doctor Chris Chadwick and Critical Care Paramedic Gary Steward arrived at the scene. Pilots Steve Norris and Rob Gleave landed the helicopter on part of the holiday park, providing quick access to the lodge. The burns Charlie suffered were very severe and he required advanced pain relief and emergency burn care before being flown to the specialist burns unit at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, where a team was ready and waiting to treat Charlie.
Support the EAAA Crews this Christmas
By giving an EAAA virtual gift this Christmas, you will be helping to protect the crew, as they work 365 days a year, to help patients like Charlie.
Virtual Gifts help to equip the EAAA air ambulance crews with everything they need to save lives in East Anglia. By giving a Virtual Gift this Christmas, you'll be making a huge difference to them and the people they help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Ranging from £10 to £225, the virtual gifts available include: batteries – the gift of power, to make sure emergency kit is always fully charged and ready to go, fuel – the gift of reaching people, in the quickest time possible, to items such as a pair of crew boots and a high vis jacket – the gift of protecting a crew member on scene.
Got to www.eaaa.org.uk/christmas2020 to order a gift for the EAAA crew. If you order by 18 December, a gift card will be sent to you in time to Christmas, to pass on to your loved one.
Charlie was quickly airlifted from Norfolk to Chelmsford for specialist care
By air, the flight took 45 mins. By road, even under blue lights, this would have taken an hour and a half. In this situation, the transfer EAAA were able to provide made a significant difference to Charlie’s care. Chris, Charlie’s dad, went in the helicopter with Charlie and said:
“I really can’t thank the ambulance and air ambulance teams enough for what they did for Charlie. They walked into a crazy scene with Charlie screaming in pain and us trying our best to cool his wounds down, but they were incredibly calm and quick in everything they did. They didn’t waste any time in treating Charlie and getting us to Broomfield. Most of all, they really helped me to keep it together. It all happened so fast and was absolutely terrifying. I think we might have lost Charlie if it wasn’t for them but the team, especially the doctor, who knew what to do and was very reassuring. They are true heroes.”
Once at Broomfield, Charlie went straight into surgery for specialist treatment, which included having biobrane mesh fitted, to promote healing. Charlie was in intensive care for two days and spent 10 days on the burns unit, with his mum staying in the hospital as much as possible. Once home, our Aftercare Team sent Charlie a bravery pack and kept in touch with the family for support.
Incredibly, just a few months after this ordeal, Charlie was back to his usual cheeky self, very active and happy. Some areas of Charlie’s skin have some pigment damage, which should resolve in time and he has a pressure suit to help with scarring. Thankfully, due to the quick and expert treatment he received, he has made a wonderful recovery, shouldn’t have any lasting effects from the burns, and is looking forward to Christmas.
Insights from the doctor who treated Charlie
Doctor Chris Chadwick, who treated Charlie, added: “I remember this mission well. We were rapidly despatched to this incident by the critical care desk at the ambulance service who recognised the EAAA would be able to offer advanced treatments in this case. We had sufficient time in flight to rehearse and plan our interventions for this seriously injured child. The incident was difficult to locate from the air, as the holiday park was in beautiful thick woodland; however, our exceedingly skilled pilots Steve and Rob managed to land the aircraft safely as close to the scene as possible.
“When we arrived, Critical Care Paramedic Gary and I were able to quickly identify that good first aid had been delivered, but Charlie had sadly suffered extensive burns. We all know how painful even the smallest burn can be, so treating Charlie’s pain was our highest priority. We were all relieved once we had quickly managed to control Charlie’s pain and apply specialist dressings, as we could see how distressed he and his family were.
“At EAAA, we are very lucky to be able to combine state of the art equipment with the experience and skills of our advanced teams in cases like this. Charlie was asleep and calm when we loaded him on to the aircraft for the flight to the regional burns centre – which is only possible through the generous donations of our supporters. I am in no doubt that the first aid and the care we provided made a huge difference to Charlie that day, and have been delighted to follow his remarkable progress under the expert care of our amazing NHS colleagues. I would encourage anyone to learn emergency first aid, as you just don’t know when it will be needed. The whole crew wish Charlie all the best for his continued, cheeky recovery!”