ON May 31, 2019, 18-year-old dairy farmer Ethan Sibley was driving in his home town of Stewartstown in County Tyrone when he was involved in a serious two-car collision in which he nearly lost his life.
Ethan was just a few miles from his home when the accident happened and due to the severity of his injuries, Air Ambulance Northern Ireland was tasked to the scene. Ethan was in critical condition when the Air Ambulance NI medical team, Dr Derek Hrabovsky and paramedic Mike Patton, arrived.
With a bleed on the brain, a collapsed lung, a lacerated liver, vertebrae injuries and multiple broken bones including a broken pelvis, heel, and jaw broken in two places, the medical team carried out critical care interventions and put Ethan into an induced coma at the scene. Due to the severity of Ethan’s injuries, the Air Ambulance medical team transferred him to the Royal Victoria Hospital.
Following the accident, Ethan spent five weeks in the hospital. During his first week, Ethan was in a coma in critical condition and was kept in the ICU. He was then transferred to a high dependency unit for a further five days, before spending his final three weeks in a private room.
While he is still in the process of rehabilitation for the significant brain injury sustained through the accident, Ethan has made a remarkable recovery and is keen to get back on the road and continue with his farming duties.
Speaking about the accident and Air Ambulance NI’s involvement, Ethan’s sister, Kira Sibley, said: “We honestly can’t thank Air Ambulance enough for what they did for Ethan. We didn’t know anything about them until they arrived. We can honestly say that without their help, Ethan would not be alive today. It feels like it happened yesterday and we as a family still feel raw about the whole thing, but we’re happy to share our story if it means bringing attention to this vital service.”
Since Ethan’s accident, his family has dedicated their time to raising money for Air Ambulance NI. Kira and her mother Sharon took part in a tandem skydive for the charity in August and have raised more than £1,600.
Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising for AANI, said: “As a charity we depend on public donations to ensure we can continue to provide the service across Northern Ireland. It takes £5,500 a day to keep our organisation running, so the Sibley family’s fundraising efforts are very much appreciated by our team. We’re so happy to hear that Ethan is making great strides in his recovery and wish him all the best in the future!”
Air Ambulance NI is the local charity that provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for Northern Ireland, together with partners at the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS). The service operates seven days a week for 12 hours per day and since its first mission in July 2017 the air ambulance has been tasked over 1,100 times across the region.
From its base near Lisburn, the air ambulance can reach any part of Northern Ireland in approximately 25 minutes. Its primary role is to deliver advanced care, benefitting those whose lives are at serious risk following significant injury or trauma, by bringing urgent medical assistance directly to the patient at the scene.
n To find out more about the charity, or make a donation, visit Air Ambulance NI’s Facebook page, visit www.airambulanceni.org or call 028 9262 2677.