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Film director puts own first aid skills into action in roadside drama

Simon Crofts

A 38-year-old film director from Loggerheads, Staffordshire, is encouraging more people to learn first aid after putting his own skills into action when he came across a road traffic accident and helped prevent a cyclist becoming paralysed.

Simon was driving back from Dorset when a traffic jam rerouted his sat nav and took him on a detour through the Gloucestershire village of Almondsbury. While on his journey, Simon came across a road traffic accident, where he could see a car with a dent in the side and someone on the floor in the road.

In safe hands

Simon used his car to block the scene to ensure no further harm would come to the person lying in the road and got out of his car to see if he could help. The man in the road was Michael, a 64-year-old cyclist, who had collided with the car and had suffered serious spinal injuries.

Simon said: ‘I could see straight away that Michael was in agony – he was writhing in pain. There was another motorist who had stopped to help too so we worked together to help Michael as best we could. It was a cold night and Michael was shaking – possibly because he was in shock – so I quickly ran to my car to get a blanket to try and keep him warm.

‘I knew that the biggest concern would be the possibility of spinal injuries, so we tried to keep Michael as still as we could, supporting his head and neck. While another bystander called for an ambulance, I started talking to Michael to keep him calm and to get some details from him about his medical history and also any loved ones that would need to be called.

‘He was very disorientated, but I tried to continue talking to him to reassure him that he was in good hands and that help was on the way.’

Life-changing injuries

Michael, an experienced cyclist who has been using his bike to commute to work for more than 40 years, broke three vertebrae, his collar bone and his shoulder blade. He was told that if he had tried to stand up after his accident, he would have been paralysed from the chest down.

Michael said: ‘I am so grateful to Simon and the others who helped me that day. I remember shortly after the accident, lying in the road and just being told to lie there and not to move, so I didn’t attempt to get up. Without that advice, my life could have changed dramatically. I really feel very lucky to have met Simon.’

Simon said: ‘I did a first aid at work course with St John Ambulance because I often work in remote locations across the country and I want to be certain that should a medical emergency come up and we are miles from help, I am able to deal with the situation confidently. As it turns out, I wasn’t at work when I needed to use my skills! I’m just glad I was able to help Michael that day, providing first aid and reassurance when he needed it most.

Simon acted quickly and calmly and his actions certainly show that first aid can help to prevent life-changing injuries as well as save lives.

If you’ve been in a similar situation and have had to put your first aid skills to use, we’d love to hear from you. Simply fill in our short online form and someone will be in touch.