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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Helena Vesty

'I couldn’t even give my own name': Paramedic suffered catastrophic brain injury in horror crash - but his life was miraculously saved

A paramedic was left to experience the other side of his job after a horrific cycling crash saw him suffer a catastrophic brain injury. The North West paramedic lost consciousness, with potentially life-changing spinal injuries - until he was miraculously saved.

Paul Harvey, a 48-year-old cyclist from Swinton was riding in Wigan in July 2021 when he hit a piece of debris in the road. The collision threw him over the handlebars of the bike and onto the road.

Despite wearing a helmet, Paul, who works for the North West Ambulance Service, landed heavily on the road, causing him to lose consciousness. He was left with potentially life-changing spinal injuries as paramedics arrived to treat him.

READ MORE: Stop turning up to A&E with 'stubbed toes' because you can't get a GP appointment, urges paramedic

“The paramedic noticed I was bleeding from both ears, there were fractures to the left side of my face and they were querying if I had a spinal injury," explained Paul. “But they were more concerned about my head trauma.

"They tried to identify me but I couldn’t even give my own name.”

Paul is a keen cyclist (Paul Harvey)

After an ambulance arrived at the scene, the paramedics called in the North West Air Ambulance Charity to fly in specialist doctors and treat Paul before they could make it to the hospital.

Paul was agitated, so the air ambulance team made the decision to anaesthetise, then intubate Paul to control his breathing. He was taken by road ambulance to Salford Royal Hospital, escorted by the air ambulance team, in order to maintain his medically induced coma and protect his brain.

After the devastating crash, Paul spent two weeks in a coma at Salford Royal Hospital. He was treated for injuries including an unstable spinal fracture, which required spinal fusion surgery, and a traumatic brain injury called a Diffuse Axonal Injury, which is the tearing of the brain’s connective fibres and can be fatal.

Paul said: “I dread to think how different my injuries might have been if it wasn’t for the North West Air Ambulance Charity. Without them, my spinal fracture could have been spinal cord injury.”

An air ambulance was called to the scene (ASP)

Miraculously, one year on from the incident, Paul is recovering well and back working for the North West Ambulance Service. He is even completing office duties while he continues his recovery.

On the anniversary of his accident, Paul enjoyed a meal with close family members at his local pub to mark the occasion. After the care he received at the roadside, he wanted to pay tribute to all the emergency workers who treated him that day.

But he said his life may have been very different if it wasn’t for the air ambulance charity.

Paul said: “Everybody that attended that scene contributed to saving my life. But the charity prevented me from being in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.

“I’m just immensely grateful. My experience as a paramedic made me appreciate the things they did for me.

“The fact that I’m still here for my family and the fact that I’ve got my life back – I want to thank them to the end of the earth.”

The North West Air Ambulance Charity helped save Paul's life (North West Air Ambulance Charity)

The North West Air Ambulance Charity receives no NHS or government funding, says the charity. To find out how you can support the charity, visit

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