A routine knee replacement operation turned into a scary ordeal for 71-year-old Anne McNamara who ended up gravely ill and in desperate need of an emergency flight from the Northland Rescue Choppers in a bid to save her life.
Following her successful knee replacement operation, Anne got up to freshen up for her departure home and remembers it all went downhill from there.
“I was standing in my ensuite and had just finished cleaning my teeth when I fell over backwards and off my crutches. Luckily where I fell was next to the call bell for the nurses, so I rung that and all I remember is getting a very violent headache across my forehead,” she says.
“I remember the nurses coming to help me, and my sister and friend were there as they had been coming to collect me, but I was confused when they came, and that is the last I remember. It all went black from there.”
Rushed to Whangarei Hospital via ambulance, Anne was placed into an induced coma and underwent extensive tests including a CT scan which showed a subdural bleed. The risk of death was so severe that she was immediately flown to Auckland Hospital accompanied by a doctor and nurse from Whangarei, and on arrival, was rushed immediately into surgery.
“When I woke up, I looked around and saw some family and then two surgeons came in. One turned to me and said ‘we are the ones who saved your life’. It isn’t often you hear that.”
“If it wasn’t for that helicopter ride and the speed in which it could get me to Auckland…” she trails off. “It is quite frightening really. That helicopter ride saved my life.”
Recovery wise, everything has been going fine.
“I was brought home from Auckland in an ambulance and that was one long ride. It just shows how much time the choppers save.”
Anne says she encourages people to donate to the helicopters, and take a moment to realise how important this service is in Northland.
“All of our family donate to the choppers. We need this service – it saves lives and it saved mine.”