HomeChris’ Story

Chris’ Story

“I’m incredibly thankful for the high level of care I received every step of the way.”

Chris’ Story
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“Every day brings a new challenge, but that’s what I love about this job – it’s not just work, it’s a way of life”. As a seasoned crop and cattle farmer in Colchester, Chris knows the highs and lows of farming all too well – it’s a profession that requires passion, perseverance and relentless hard work. Yet, on Tuesday 6th June 2023 – with harvest right around the corner – he encountered every farmer’s worst nightmare.

“It was a difficult morning,” Chris recalls. “After making silage (a fermented feed for livestock), we needed to move all of the cows across the field. I was driving the JCB Telehandler at the time, but the cows started getting away from me. I decided it would be quicker to jump out to round them up rather than trying to manoeuvre the JCB around them. I thought I had the handbrake secured, but it didn’t catch. As I jumped out, I snagged on the steering wheel, lost my balance and fell.”

Chris was winded as he crashed to the ground, but the machine was still turning sharply and landed directly on top of his right leg. Chris still remembers the weight of the machine crushing his leg and hearing a loud crack. Despite the excruciating pain, Chris was able to stay calm and focused.

His leg “felt like it was on fire, but jelly at the same time”. One of his colleagues managed to reverse the tractor off his leg while Chris reached for his phone and loaded up the app “what3words“, giving emergency services his precise location.

Responding promptly to the call, paramedics from East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) and the critical care team from Essex & Herts Air Ambulance arrived at the scene. The helicopter made a precise landing nearby, enabling quick access to advanced medical care as EHAAT’s pre-hospital care doctor, Dr Sarah, and critical care paramedic, Laurie, administered strong painkillers to alleviate his pain, prevent shock and stabilise him for a safe transfer to Colchester Hospital for further treatment. 

After spending six days in hospital, Chris demonstrated to his consultant that he was mobile on crutches, and he was able to return home to continue his recovery. After six weeks had passed, his efforts were rewarded with medical clearance to drive — a huge moment as it meant he could also return to light duty. 

Now back on the farm he loves, Chris is reminded of the dangers he and farmers across the country face each day.

“I always knew I worked in one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Don’t get me wrong, if I hear someone reversing the JCB in the yard, I’m quick to look for it now. I’m probably more aware of the risks, but I love being back. I’m really invested in the farm, so being able to manage 13,000 steps in a day again is positive, and I need to keep progressing.”

“The doctors and paramedics at the scene were fantastic; their response was quick and efficient, which made all the difference. I’m incredibly thankful for the high level of care I received every step of the way.”

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