Peering under her son’s bed, Kaylie Parvin could see his eyes blinking in the darkness. “Found you,” she grinned at two-year-old Louis, tickling his tummy.
“Well done, Mummy!” he giggled, crawling out from under the bed. It was September 24th, 2013, and little Louis loved playing hide-and-seek. But Kaylie didn’t have time for another game… it was her 25th birthday party and her husband Peter was taking her out for dinner to her favourite restaurant.
Louis was being looked after by his grandparents Peter and Lesley, and stayed at their house overnight. The next day, Lesley needed to clean a rental property they owned, so took Louis with her. Bounding about with endless energy, Louis started playing hide-and-seek and ran into one of the bedrooms. As his Nan turned her back for just a moment, she heard a big bang and ran into the room to find Louis lying on the carpet, unconscious. The toddler had somehow managed to pull a heavy wardrobe onto himself. She gave Louis mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and frantically dialled 999 as he regained consciousness.
South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) paramedics Chris Bosworth and Phillip Richardson, and Emergency Care Support Workers Ben Marlow and Tina West, were first on scene. Chris said: “It was instantly obvious that Louis had a substantial head injury with the high likelihood that he had fractured his skull. The Air Ambulance team arrived pretty soon after my assessment. I then handed over to them before helping with the treatment they provided.”
Air Ambulance doctors Malcolm Tunnicliff and Simon Wood, and critical care paramedics Jez Loseby and Richard de Coverly, put Louis in an induced coma to protect his airway and take control of his breathing in an effort to maintain the correct pressure in his brain, this advanced medical procedure is usually performed only in hospital. By this time, one of the paramedics had called Kaylie and Peter who arrived at the house within minutes to find Louis lying on a stretcher with an oxygen mask on his face.
Air Ambulance Pilot Captain Kevin Goddard then flew Louis to the specialist neurological centre at King’s College Hospital, in just 25 minutes. There was only room for one of them in the helicopter so Kaylie went with Louis while Peter drove to the hospital and arrived an hour later.
Scans confirmed that Louis had a fractured skull and a small bleed on his brain. The fracture had actually helped save his life because it released the pressure on his brain. Louis spent four days in intensive care before being moved to a high dependency ward. He was transferred to Pembury Hospital a week later and despite doctors’ fears of lasting brain damage, he has since made a full recovery.
Peter said: “It really was touch and go. Louis is such a bright, lively and cheeky boy so it was horrible to see him lying there with tubes coming out of him.” He added: “So many people helped and looked after us but I honestly believe the actions of the Air Ambulance saved his life. It’s frightening to think the service just relies on donations.”