Injured miner behind bid for a new helipad

Doncaster's Civic Mayor Councillor Pat Haith, Richard Hodgkinson and Mayor's Consort Alan Haith at the helipad launch
Doncaster's Civic Mayor Councillor Pat Haith, Richard Hodgkinson and Mayor's Consort Alan Haith at the helipad launch

A Doncaster miner left fighting for his life after a burst pipe sliced eight inches into his body in an underground accident is backing a hospital helipad appeal.

Richard Hodgkinson, 52, is backing the campaign to raise funds for a new helipad at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital – the service which helped to save his life after the accident at Hatfield Colliery last summer.

Richard Hodginson in hospital after his accident

Richard Hodginson in hospital after his accident

Mr Hodgkinson was injured after a hydraulic pipe burst and cut eight inches into his body, knocking him off his feet and leaving him struggling to breathe and in need of life-saving surgery. The accident happened five miles underground.

The dad-of-two said: “My life was in the hands of the emergency services.

“And if they hadn’t got me to the Northern General so quickly I wouldn’t be here as I was deteriorating fast.

“It took about an hour to get me out as I was so far underground, so if I’d had to endure a land ambulance transfer, which would have taken about 50 minutes, I wouldn’t have made it.”
It took just eight minutes to get Mr Hodgkinson to the Northern General in the helicopter and almost the same again to transfer him by land ambulance up to the hospital’s A&E department.

Mr Hodgkinson, who still suffers a lot of pain and cannot walk long distances unaided, said: “I was still conscious when we landed and I remember being transferred to an ambulance to take me to the emergency room. I could feel every bump and it was just so painful.

“One of the paramedics later told me I was one of the most critically injured patients she had ever seen and that I survived against all the odds.

“I’m truly thankful to every one of them. You never think it’s going to happen to you, but the reality is it could be you or someone you love, that’s why I’m supporting the Sheffield Helipad Appeal.”

Saving Time, Saving Lives, has been launched by Sheffield Hospitals Charity to raise funds to build a helipad close to the A&E department.

The new helipad will mean patients who require life-saving treatment can be transferred to the major trauma centre within seconds of landing, saving valuable time.

At present, air ambulances must land on a ‘secondary helipad’ built more than 20 years ago – so far from the casualty unit it means passengers have to be transferred into another vehicle to be driven to the unit.

The project will cost about £2 million to complete, £585,000 of which still needs to be raised.

* Visit: Sheffield Helipad or call Sheffield Hospitals Charity on 0114 2711351. Donate £5 by texting HELIPAD10 to 70660.