Orin Hough was airlifted to hospital after he was knocked down last year. Picture: Brian Lougheed.
Schoolboy Orin knocked down while crossing the road seeks support for air ambulance service
The Irish Community Air Ambulance has launched a fundraising drive as it enters its busiest time of the year. The charity Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Air Ambulance is also experiencing a 100% increase in fuel costs.
The organisation’s HEMS Air Ambulance and Rapid Response Vehicles were tasked 328 times during the first four months of 2022. The helicopter is based in Rathcoole, Co Cork with critical care teams on the ground in Dublin, Mayo and Donegal.
The family of an 11-year-old boy from Limerick has joined the appeal and is calling on people to support the vital service. Orin Hough sustained serious injuries when he was knocked down as he crossed the road in Listowel, Co. Kerry in May last year. He became the first child to be airlifted from the Southwest of Ireland directly to the specialist neurosurgical centre at CHI Temple Street under new trauma protocols.
Tom Hough, Orin’s dad, said the emergency services were fantastic. “The Irish Community Air Ambulance crew were absolutely brilliant. When they arrived at the scene they took charge and organised everything. They were so professional and reassuring and stayed completely calm throughout. Orin was brought by ambulance to the local rugby pitch where the Community Air Ambulance helicopter was waiting. Orin was stabilised and we took off for Dublin. James, one of the Air Ambulance crew, sat across from me and was constantly monitoring Orin, it was hard to hear but James kept giving me the thumbs up to let me know everything was okay. The difference the helicopter made for Orin was unbelievable.”
A team of medics was ready and waiting for Orin when the helicopter arrived at Temple Street and Orin was brought straight in for scans. He spent a week in a coma in the ICU, he was paralysed on his left side and couldn’t speak for several weeks.
Orin’s mum Caitriona said he has made a phenomenal recovery, “Orin’s accident happened on the 29th of May, he left Temple Street on the 13th of August and returned to school in September on a phased basis. He could only walk short distances and went to school in a wheelchair. He spent another 10 weeks at the National Rehab Centre in Dublin and was discharged at the start of March. He can now run around with his friends, do PE and is back playing football again. Orin received a gift of a teddy from the crew of the Irish Community Air Ambulance and has named it Hero. We are so grateful for all that they did for Orin that day and we would encourage everyone to support them.”
The Irish Community Air Ambulance works in partnership with the National Ambulance Service and has responded to more than 1,300 emergency calls since it was first launched in July 2019. There were 157 HEMS taskings during the first four months of this year including 47 incidents in March alone. April and July were the busiest months of 2021 with the HEMS Air Ambulance tasked 57 times each month.
CEO of the Irish Community Air Ambulance, Micheál Sheridan said, “The aim of the Irish Community Air Ambulance is to provide hope when it’s needed most. Orin Hough is the perfect example of this. He was brought directly to CHI Temple Street from the scene of the accident in Kerry instead of being brought to the closest hospital. Every minute counts especially when you’re dealing with a seriously injured child. We want to be able to help more people like Orin, however, our need for fundraising is greater than ever. Increased taskings and rising fuel costs are driving up our costs massively. We also want to expand and enhance our Volunteer Doctor service to more locations and fund more advanced medical equipment. Covid-19 has hampered our fundraising efforts significantly over the last two years too which is why we need people to visit our website to donate or host a fundraising event.”
The Irish Community Air Ambulance also funds a Critical Care Rapid Response service staffed by Volunteer Critical Care Doctors and an Advanced Life Support Doctor Service with community-based GPs. The ground teams responded to 171 incidents between January and April this year. The organisation responded to a total of 328 taskings during the first quarter of 2022.
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