5 Amazing Things Which Saved My Life?

5 Amazing Things Which Saved My Life?


What are the 5 Amazing Things Which Saved My Life? Actually, 6 things saved my life if I’m honest. I simply would not have survived these injuries if I had received them in the UK. Now that statement isn’t a criticism of the National Health Service or the ability of the clinicians that work in the NHS, in fact many of the surgeons, doctors, anaesthetist, nurses, radiographers and medics have not only trained with the NHS they work there on a full time basis. I was extremely lucky to survive for the reasons I give below.

Basic Medical Training

Every serviceman and women of whatever cap badge or trade is trained to a certain standard. They are trained to treat a battlefield injury and they are taught extremely well. It’s a little bit more than basic first aid, but it’s not far off. Even the most junior servicemen is taught C.A.B.C, it is used as follows.

  • C – Catastrophic Bleed. Treating a life threatening bleed is paramount, blood is better inside the body not outside it.
  • A – Open and clear the casualties air way.
  • B – Breathing – make sure they are breathing and check they have no injuries on their chest.
  • C – Circulation, make sure they have no other bleeds, these tend to be slightly less life threatening but important none the less.

They are also taught the importance of applying tourniquets and administering pain relief like morphine. The ability to be able to follow this process cannot be underestimated.

The Tourniquet

This is applied to a severely injured limb after receiving a serious injury like a crush wound, gunshot wound or a blast injury. I had two of these used on me, one on each leg. I remember the left one being reapplied and the feeling that it was quite uncomfortable. I had to just suck it up and get on with it however it felt.  A big bleed is the most preventable cause of death on the battlefield. Fifty percent of combat deaths and eighty percent of civilian death are due to uncontrolled bleeding.  You can die from a femoral bleed in as little as three minutes, I was incredibly lucky that these relatively inexpensive items were being used. If you wish  you can read a little more about tourniquets HERE

The Tourniquet

The Combat Medical Technician

The training that the average Combat Medical Technician undergoes is immense. We are not professionally qualified, unless you have completed one of the paramedic degree courses. We are taught a great deal from primary health care, pharmacy, environmental health care, preventative health care, anatomy and physiology and how to treat emergency conditions from gunshot wounds to broken arms from chest injuries to blast injuries. It’s not uncommon to deliver this capability as a remote medic with the only back up coming from the other end of a radio or satellite phone. We take immense pride in our jobs and are an immensely proud cohort.

Medic's Pack

The Medical Emergency Response Team

The M.E.R.T is a chinook helicopter, this was crewed by an incredible group of air crew and clinicians which included doctors, nurses and medic’s all very highly trained this  was an incredible asset to have out on operations, the bravery of the pilots who flew these massive helicopters cannot be underestimated. Many more people would have died if it hadn’t been used, from military to civilian, friend and foe. As medics we only based treatment on need not who that person was or was not. If it had not been for those ‘Flying Angels’ I would not be alive today.

MERT AMB Bastion

Camp Bastion Field Hospital

The field hospital was cramped full of incredible clinicians. Consultants and surgeons in many different areas and expertise, specialists nurses by the bucket load and enough cutting edge equipment with the knowledge to use it aplenty. There are loads of statistics out there to support all this, but I would like to draw your attention to just a few.

  1. For the period 1 April 2006 to 31 July 2013, the survival rate for UK Armed Forces personnel at Camp Bastion was 99.6%. This was based on a total of 6,386 admissions for UK Armed Forces personnel to the hospital at Camp Bastion, of which:
        • 28 (<1%) died of their injuries


        • 2,746 (43%) were aero-medically evacuated back to the UK and


        • 3,612 (57%) returned to their unit in Afghanistan
  1. Defence Statistics also receive Field Hospital admissions data for all other nations, including US Military, Coalition forces and Afghan locals. For the period 1 April 2006 to 31 July 2013, the survival rate for all other admissions (including coalition military forces and Afghans) was 96%. This was based on a total of 13,547 admissions for non-UK admissions to the hospital at Camp Bastion, of which:
        • 539 (4%) died of their injuries


        • 13,008 (96%) left the field hospital alive (MOD do not track coalition or Afghan populations after they have left the UK military hospital).


Camp Bastion

These figures are incredible, more information can be found following this link Defence Statistics Health. The whole team who worked in the Field Hospital were incredible from the management team to the clinical team to the teams who arranged and then flew us out (Thanks Jo, you know who you are)

‘The Sixth Thing’

The last thing I wanted to mention, which I suppose could be the sixth ‘thing’ which kept me alive. And that was the desire to live, the bloody mindedness needed to get back home and reunite with my family and friends. The way I live my life now is my way of repaying this massive debt I feel I owe to all those people who kept me living. I live my life to the fullest.

As a motivational speaker Simon has visited business and schools to, hopefully, inspire employees and students to reach their goals and motivate them to new heights.  More information about Simon can be found here