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Man who survived being hit by van thanks ambulance crew who saved his life

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A man who survived being hit by a van has been reunited with the ambulance crew who attended him in his hour of need.

Ashley Lovering, 64, from Swansea Marina, was involved in the freak accident which nearly claimed his life and left him in hospital for 16 weeks after he stumbled whilst out photographing trucks near the M4 at Morriston, Swansea.

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Last week, he was reunited in much happier circumstances with the team of paramedics and students who he considers saved his life.

Ashley said: “I’ve had a keen interest in transport all my life really.

“I was out taking pictures of trucks for my popular Facebook page and a friend of mine had phoned saying he was out with his new truck so I decided to head back to meet him.

“Instead of going around the road to my car I decided to walk down the bank and I think the ground crumbled a bit as I felt myself running all of a sudden.

“And down I went into the road and whack into the side of a Transit van.”

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After the impact, Ashley, a retired chauffer and British Steel worker, was awake but knew he was badly injured.

He continued: “Somebody had seen it and came along to ring an ambulance and police.

“My mobile phone in my pocket had dialled my friend back so he arrived and someone notified my wife who also came.

“I recall the ambulance staff coming, I think there were about seven of them in total, and I remember someone pulling my leg to get the bone back inside – that hurt.

“They must have given me something then as I saw my wife outside the ambulance as they took me in on the bed and the next thing I remember was waking up in hospital in Cardiff.”

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Ashley had ruptured two discs in his back, lacerated a kidney, bruised his bowel, had an open fracture to his femur and both his shoulders required extensive surgery with one being completely replaced and the other rebuilt with plates and pins.

He spent eight weeks in Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales and a further eight weeks in Swansea’s Morriston Hospital receiving treatment and recovering.

He said: “I’ve been back home 15 weeks now and the physio comes to my house.

“I also go to the gym three times a week to do recovery work which helps me.

“I’ve managed to walk into town without crutches now which is about a mile and a half there and back.”

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For Ashley, this was the first time in his life he had been in an ambulance and the first time he’d been in hospital too.

“I wanted to meet and thank the ambulance crews as I was able to thank everybody in the hospital in person,” he said.

“The doctors, the nurses, the man who cleaned the room, the lady who made the coffee, everyone, but I never got to see the ambulance staff again.

“They were fantastic and they saved my life really.

“I’ve even written to the police to thank them for closing the road and making everything safe that day.”

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There were a total of six Welsh Ambulance Service staff and two student paramedics who attended Ashley that day due to the complexities of his injuries.

Paramedic Beth Hewes, 42 of Swansea, said: “Ashley’s accident happened on the main road leading to Morriston Hospital and luckily a Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS) crew were passing by and stopped to assist him and make the call.

“I was on duty in a rapid response vehicle that day with a student paramedic and we were heading back to base when the call came in and were the first emergency crew on scene.

“We were soon joined by an ambulance and a second ambulance to support us and convey the patient once we had him stable.”

Despite his injuries and the awful pain he was in, Beth was full of praise for Ashley’s calm nature.

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“He was the perfect patient really,” she said.

“He was very polite and even said thank you every time we gave him pain relief.

“We had had to call ahead to the trauma unit in Cardiff and also seek permission to administer further pain medications.

“Even with an open fracture in his leg he was saying the majority of the pain was in his shoulder.

“It was great teamwork and communication on this job and the NEPTS crew were a great help to us.

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“Everybody involved was fantastic and the police did a great job in making sure we were safe from traffic to work.”

Speaking of the reunion, Ashley said: “It was a really lovely day and I ended up crying.

“It was so nice to meet everyone who helped me and be able to thank them properly.

“I had a friend of mine who runs a diecast truck company make them a model ambulance each to keep as a token of my thanks.”

Beth added: “It was a very humbling meeting and really, really nice.

“I’ve been a paramedic 15 years now and I’ve never met a patient afterwards.

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“It was very emotional but once we all got chatting it was lovely.

“I know myself and the other crews and students will all treasure the model ambulances he had made for us and that was a lovely touch.

“We all wish him very well in the future.”

(All images: Wales Ambulance Trust)

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