THE RESCUE of a man who became impaled by a fence post which resulted in him losing part of his right lung, bowel and sustaining kidney and intestine damage will feature on television in a series following the region’s air ambulance service.

Richard Stephenson, 23, of Corporation Road, Workington, was a passenger in his friend’s car when the vehicle went off the road near Workington Docks and crashed into a fence in October 2018.

The driver was unharmed, however, a wooden fence post had pierced through the passenger side of the car and impaled Richard’s chest.

Dr John Ferris, who works at Great North Air Ambulance Service, but responded as a BASIC rapid response doctor, was one of the first to arrive on the scene along with the North West Ambulance Service.

He said: “As I approached the car I could hear Richard moaning away and began to feel reassured that he must have escaped serious injury.

“But as I came around the side of the car it became apparent that this job was going to be that once in a career job where your skills are stretched to a maximum and beyond.”

Richard was given ketamine and freed from the car before further help arrived from GNAAS and the ambulance service.

GNAAS paramedic Andy Dalton said: “Dr Ferris had already formulated a plan that he would need to be given general anaesthetic at the scene so that we could treat the chest injuries he had suffered as the post had gone through his chest.

“This procedure is normally performed with the patient on their back but due to the stake it had to be done with him on his side which made it very difficult.

“There was a concern that Richard may need a blood transfusion, but we had already used our blood stocks at a previous incident.

“Therefore, the critical care team based at Teesside International Airport was asked to attend to bring extra blood should it be needed.

“Once the anaesthetic had been delivered, the bilateral thoracotomy was performed on either side of Richard’s chest, which involves cutting a small hole to release a build-up of pressure, which if not done could have been life threatening.”

Richard was then taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, he has no recollection of the event.

Richard said: “I’m grateful to be here. I’m lucky to be alive.

“Everything is a bonus. I see live in a different perspective. It really does make you grateful.”

Richard only has memory of the night before and waking up three days later being unable to move.

Dr Ferris added: “I remember watching the helicopter fly away from scene thinking that it would be a miracle if he were to survive.”

At the RVI, Dr Jonathan Howes, consultant in emergency medicine delivered ongoing care to Richard. He said: “I made sure we had the necessary treatment and the right surgical teams ready for when Richard came in.

“He underwent an operation to remove the wood, but he ended up losing part of his right lung. He then went into intensive care.”

As well as losing a third of his right lung, Mr Stephenson lost two parts of his bowel, had a kidney damage, and sustained damage to his intestines.

n The story will be shown on an episode of Emergency Helicopter Medics on More4 on Sunday.