A baby whose life hung in the balance after being savaged in a dog attack has been reunited with the air ambulance crew that helped save his life.
Four-month old James Davidson, who suffered a punctured windpipe and extensive injuries to his head and neck after being attacked by the family terrier, was saved after a desperate race against time by the Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance crew that flew to the scene.
James, from Glen Esk in Angus, travelled to Perth Airport along with his parents Morven and Derek Davidson to say “thank you” in an emotional reunion with his life-savers.
“We can’t thank them enough,” said the couple. “Their expertise and fast actions saved our little boy. We owe them his life.”
James was attacked by one of the family’s dogs as he lay in his pram while his mother kennelled them following a walk.
“I just looked away for a minute and when I heard him cry out I turned to see our little terrier on the pram,” said Morven.
“The dog jumped down as soon as I shouted but one look at James told me he was badly injured.”
SCAA was quickly on scene, landing right beside the family’s countryside home.
And a quick assessment of the injured infant told SCAA paramedic Darren O’Brien all he needed to know.
‘They literally make the difference between life and death and our family will be forever grateful for what they did that day.’Derek Davidson.
“Baby James suffered extensive injuries to his head and neck in the attack, including a punctured windpipe,” he explained.
“Getting him quickly to theatre was crucial and we alerted the surgical team at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to the infant’s injuries, ensuring they were ready to act as soon as we got there.”.
That speed in airlifting James to expert surgeons proved a lifesaver, with pilot Captain Shaun Rose wasting no time in getting their valuable passenger to expert care.
“I saw the look in the paramedics’ eyes and knew we were on the clock,” said Shaun. “This little chap needed us to move fast so we did – getting him to hospital in about 15 minutes.”
“I never took my eyes off him throughout the entire flight,” said Darren. “We couldn’t let him drift off to sleep and I was monitoring him every second in case he deteriorated and we had to intervene. It really was a race against time.
“As paramedics, you try not to invest emotionally in your patients but it’s extremely difficult when a wee one’s involved,” said Darren. “And James was touch and go.
“To see him alert and healthy and happy is what makes this job worthwhile and we’re so touched that the family has come to visit. We’re really humbled and it means a huge amount to us all.
“It’s a very special day – getting a cuddle from a real wee fighter. It’s awesome.”
Following three days in the High Dependency Unit and a series of operations, James has now made a full recovery following the December 1 incident.
But the family is in no doubt that things could have proved tragically different without SCAA’s fast actions.
“This service is a lifeline to rural communities,” said Derek. “They literally make the difference between life and death and our family will be forever grateful for what they did that day.”