10:30am Saturday 31st March 2012
By Amanda Williams
WHEN Joe Robinson was wheeled unconscious through the doors of the John Radcliffe Hospital, he had been given a three per cent chance of survival.
The teenager was fighting for his life and had broken almost every bone in his body in a car crash which took the life of one of his close friends.
But thanks to the dedicated round-the-clock care of experts at the hospital Joe, who spent four weeks in a coma, is now fighting fit.
And under plans which will see the John Radcliffe transformed into a regional specialist centre, hundreds more lives like Joe’s will also be saved.
From Monday the hospital will become a Major Trauma Centre, equipped to treat the most seriously sick and injured patients from across the South East.
And from October, ambulances from across the region will transport the very sickest patients directly to the doors of the JR, cutting out ‘the middle man’ of the neighbouring hospitals and saving precious time.
About 1,600 South Central Ambulance Staff have been specially trained for the change, and the Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) Trust is investing £3.7m in staff and equipment over the next six months to support the development of the unit.
John McMaster, clinical lead for major trauma at the trust, said the number of patients taken on at the hospital ward would double – from about 400 to 800 – and 80 extra staff would be taken on.
He said: “This investment will benefit the wider population of patients we care for above and beyond trauma patients.
“This is an exciting opportunity to further develop the trust’s reputation as a provider of specialist care.”
Last year the Government announced plans for patients to be treated by specialist staff concentrated in a smaller number of hospitals around the country.
The major centres, like the John Radcliffe, will provide direct access to specialist teams and state-of-the-art equipment to ensure patients receive immediate treatment, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
When it is not possible to get to a major trauma centre within 45 minutes, or where the patient needs to be stabilised quickly, the patient would be taken to the nearest hospital with a trauma unit for immediate treatment and stabilisation before being transferred on to the major trauma centre.
Mr Robinson, now 21, of Oxford Road, Thame, was taken to the John Radcliffe in April 2009 after a car he was travelling in crashed on the A34 Oxford bypass near Wytham. His friend Grace Hadman who was also in the car, died from her injuries.
Mr Robinson’s injuries included five broken vertebrae, three in his back and two in his neck. His skull was also fractured across half the diameter of his head.
Specialists at the hospital estimated Mr Robinson’s treatment, which included round-the-clock care, operations, drugs, and feeding, cost about £1m.
He said: “The teams at the JR fought day and night to save my life.
“Without the hospital and its expert care, I would not be here.”
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