Teenager thanks ambulance crews who saved his life

Date: 01 April 2020

Photo credit to EAAA

Harry Sage (centre) meets (L- R) EEAST senior paramedic Anthony Joslin, EEAST apprentice emergency medical technician James Bugg, and critical care paramedic Carl Smith and Doctor Neil Berry, East Anglian Air Ambulance. Photo credit - East Anglian Air Ambulance.

An 18 year old apprentice fabricator has paid tribute to the ambulance crews who saved his life following a freak accident at work.

Harry Sage, who lives in Sudbury, was working in a steel factory near Newmarket last August when his forklift collided with a two and a half tonne steel beam which was being moved across the factory.

The edge of the beam struck him across the face and mouth, breaking his jaw. Then, as Harry ducked out of the cab, the beam knocked off his hard hat, cutting him along his scalp from the top of his forehead to the base of his neck. Somehow, he freed himself from the cab, breaking his collar bone as he hit the floor. If the beam had struck him anywhere else on his head or neck, he almost certainly would have died from the impact.

A crew from the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) arrived shortly afterwards, and called for extra support from the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) from Cambridge when they saw the severity of Harry’s injuries.

After assessing Harry, the medics decided he did not need advanced sedation and could be transferred by road to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, where he spent the next 12 days undergoing multiple surgeries to repair the damage to his jaw, mouth, palate and lips. He also needed a tracheostomy to help him breath due to the swelling in his mouth and throat, surgery to fix his collar bone and 46 staples to close the injury on his scalp.

(Photo: Credit Harry Sage)

Seven months later, Harry is awaiting a bone and muscle graft to repair all of the damage to his palate and jaw. He is also still having several hospital appointments a month and counselling to help him deal with the trauma of the accident. However, Harry has already taken several steps towards his recovery, such as visiting the scene of the accident.

A major part of Harry’s recovery has been having the opportunity to meet the teams who treated him and to say thank you in person. Harry got this chance when he and his family visited the EAAA base in Cambridge in early March.  

Harry said: “I can remember a lot about the accident and the people who helped me. I know my accident was quite a significant one for the crews involved so it means a lot for me to be able to show them how I am now. The EAAA aftercare team have been incredible and arranged getting the ambulance and air ambulance teams who came out to me together so that I could say thank you in person. That means more than I could ever say.”

James Bugg, an apprentice emergency medical technician with EEAST, said: “This was a fantastic example of teamwork between medics at EEAST and our colleagues at East Anglian Air Ambulance. By working closely together, we were able to ensure that Harry received the prompt treatment he needed which may well have saved his life.

“We are really pleased to be given the opportunity to meet Harry again earlier this month and were delighted to hear that he is doing so well. We wish him all the best for his continued recovery.”

  • Summary:

    An 18 year old apprentice fabricator has paid tribute to the ambulance crews who saved his life following a freak accident at work.