A FORMER Redditch middle school teacher has paid tribute to the work of a charity which saves lives across Hereford and Worcestershire every day.
Robert Young owes his life to the Mercia Accident Rescue Service (MARS) after he was resuscitated by volunteer Dr Malcolm Russell following a horrendous car crash 10 years ago.
But despite saving lives on a daily basis, a recent survey found almost three quarters of people across the two counties were unaware MARS even existed.
When the accident happened, Mr Young was employed as a middle school teacher in Redditch and was driving home to Worcester.
On pulling onto the Droitwich Road Mr Young was hit by a Toyota Land Cruiser and was knocked unconscious with life-threatening injuries.
Dr Russell was also driving home from work at the time when he received the call from the ambulance service to help with this complex case.
As the closest immediate care doctor to the site, he arrived first and found Mr Young with critical injuries including a hole in his chest, a punctured lung, a broken pelvis and severe head injury.
Following Dr Russell’s care, Mr Young was transferred to Birmingham, where he was placed in an induced coma for several weeks.
On making a full recovery, Mr Young attempted to go back into teaching seven months after his accident but due to the long-term effects of his brain injury found this challenging and is now unemployed.
“Without the existence of MARS and expertise of Dr Malcolm Russell I would not be alive today, and still wake up each morning feeling incredibly grateful,” said the 38-year-old. “I still speak with the charity on a regular basis to express my gratitude, and both my family and I do all we can to support it in its fundraising efforts.”
“It’s difficult to think that without MARS I would not be here, and therefore find it quite saddening that so many members of the local community are unaware of the incredible job the charity does on a daily basis.”
Founded in 1983, MARS is a group of highly-trained and experienced clinicians, who volunteer to provide advanced pre-hospital, immediate care to members of the local community.
All MARS immediate care practitioners come from a range of specialities such as emergency medicine, general practice, cardiothoracic surgery and anaesthetics, and in their spare time attend to 999 emergencies through MARS in support of the NHS ambulance service.
Andrew Thurgood, clinical director of MARS, added: “MARS offers support to the ambulance service and occasionally the air ambulance with ground-based, advanced prehospital care, and can often be the first advanced asset to arrive at a seriously injured or ill patient.
“Over the many years I have worked with the charity, I have seen some amazing acts of kindness and pure commitment to supporting the community.
“All the more remarkable as these clinicians are already extremely busy with their day jobs.
“Funding is vital to enable us to purchase the equipment and maintain our training for the work that we do.
“As an example, for us to commission a new MARS volunteer immediate care practitioner it costs around £20,000. Therefore all support is extremely important for our service moving forwards.”
Visit www.marsbasics.org.uk for more information about the charity.