Woodgate Aviation’s Air Ambulance service has been given praise and a pat on the back by the mother of a young Craigavon teenager who underwent major life-saving heart surgery in Manchester.
One of Woodgate Aviation‘s Beechcraft King Air BE20 air ambulance’s was used to transfer fifteen-year-old Josh McGoldrick from the company’s base at Belfast International Airport to Wythenshawe Hospital, via Manchester Airport.
In an induced coma, Josh was admitted to Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital with an extremely high heart rate on the 13th May last year. Later that night, Woodgate Aviation’s Air Ambulance Team got the call and immediately filed flight plans for a Category A medical emergency flight from Northern Ireland to Manchester.
His arrival at Wythenshawe and the support of the hospital’s NewStart Charity was the start of five months of surgeries and rehabilitation before he was strong enough to get an EasyJet return flight to Belfast International Airport in September.
He was in heart failure which resulted in multiple organ failure. A CT scan revealed he’d had a stroke. Sixty-four days later, Josh learned he needed a heart transplant and was immediately put on the Transplant List.
Josh donated his own heart for research to try to find any trace of the virus that attacked it. In a video posted on YouTube which tells his own story, Josh says: “I received my precious gift of a new heart on 13/718 at 6am. Thanks to my amazing heart donor and their family.”
He celebrated his 16th birthday on the 20th July, surrounded by family an some of the dedicated staff who assisted him in his recovery. Then, ten days later, Josh was told he needed a pacemaker.
What followed was more physiotherapy…….and a hair-cut, his first in five months! It was also the first time he ate and had a drink in 17 weeks. In early September, he boarded his flight for Belfast International Airport.
Josh’s mother, Donna, shared his video with Woodgate Aviation Air Ambulance and said she would like to thank the team personally very much for all they did.
Donna adds: “The Air Ambulance transported Josh from Belfast to Manchester when speed was of the essence. The service was quite literally life-saving. The Ground Operational Team, Pilots and Aero-medical Team were all very professional and caring which meant a lot to us as we struggled to come to terms with what we were experiencing with our son. We are so grateful for everything that was done.”
Woodgate Aviation’s Operations Manager Keith McKay says the Air Ambulance team was delighted to learn from Donna just how well Josh’s recovery has progressed.
Keith said: “We greatly value feedback like this. We transport hundreds of people from Northern Ireland in need of specialist medical attention every year, and it’s wonderful to hear of such positive outcomes and how much people value what we do.”
The last word goes to Josh: “The greatest hero I never knew was the organ donor who saved my life.”