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Dr John Hinds flew in to save little Shaun McCann (7) ...the miracle of that day is proof we need an air ambulance

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 13/10/2015

Shaun McCann and Dr Janet Acheson at Stormont yesterday
Shaun McCann and Dr Janet Acheson at Stormont yesterday
Dr John Hinds

The mother of a little boy saved by motorcycle medic Dr John Hinds has described him as their "miracle" and said people in Northern Ireland deserve an air ambulance in his memory.

Shaun McCann (7) suffered from two bleeds on his brain after falling backwards off a ladder at his home in Co Roscommon.

His mum, Jessica McCann from Athlone, has spoken of the moment Dr Hinds calmly walked into her home after arriving by air ambulance and "took over".

The 33-year-old married mother of nine, who was speaking at Stormont yesterday at an event to promote a Northern Ireland Air Ambulance, said Shaun had suffered a life threatening head injury in July 2013.

The event, organised by TUV leader Jim Allister, was also attended by Dr Hinds' partner, Dr Janet Acheson, his parents, MLAs and medical experts.

Mrs McCann told the Belfast Telegraph: "Shaun had thought that he had heard birds in the garage and decided he wanted to look. He had started to climb the ladder but fell backwards and hit the back of his head.

"The other children came running in to say he wouldn't get up off the ground and that's when we ran to him. We knew something was seriously wrong.

"We brought him into the house and rang an ambulance. They came within about 30 minutes. They said it was just concussion, but I said, 'No, it's more than that'.

"You could see the blood behind his eyes and he was going in and out of consciousness."

Within 15 minutes the air ambulance, gardai and a rapid response ambulance had arrived at the house.

"The guards brought the pilot and John into the house," she added.

"He walked in, in his leathers, and told everyone to get back and took over. He got my son sedated but when Shaun got into the ambulance his body started shutting down, so John immediately intubated him. If he hadn't done that it would have been a very different anniversary we would be celebrating on July 14 every year."

Before his death in July at a racing event, 'flying doctor' Dr Hinds had championed an air ambulance for Northern Ireland.

Mrs McCann said it had been vital for her son's survival that he received such a swift expert response thanks to the helicopter.

"John induced him into a coma for two days. He was only in hospital for four days - that would have been a lot longer if he hadn't got the treatment quickly because of John. John was our miracle really," she said.

After hearing of Dr Hinds' death, Jessica said the whole family mourned.

"When he died it was like a black hole for three days. We were all devastated, We feel that it is right that the air ambulance is established in his memory," she said.

When asked how he remembers Dr Hinds, Shaun said:"He is my hero. If I saw him again I would just want to say thank you. He saved my life."

More than 70,000 people have signed a petition and the health minister has already confirmed his commitment to the service.

Dr Sinead Campbell Gray, a former colleague of 'Doc John's' who is a consultant in emergency medicine and former air ambulance doctor in England, said: "John Hinds was a pioneer in pre-hospital medicine and said that Northern Ireland deserved better, which we do.

"It has always been a world leader in trauma care - built on the dedication of all our staff who worked tirelessly throughout the Troubles.

"It's a pity that today we don't have an air ambulance service like all our European counterparts. As John used to say, 'Let's do it right, people'.

"This is the right thing to do for everyone in Northern Ireland, so let's do it right now."

Belfast Telegraph

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