Motorsport fanatic, Mike Austin, 34, will never forget the summer of 2006. While on his way to work on his much-loved motorbike, he collided with a car.
“The impact of the crash trapped my leg between my bike and the car,” says Mike. “My body was slumped over and I knew my leg was in a bad way, but I didn’t feel any pain.”
An ambulance arrived and paramedics spent more than 45 minutes trying to stabilise Mike before he could be taken to hospital. The crash had almost destroyed his leg – the skin and muscle had been torn away, the bones were shattered and his femoral artery had been badly damaged.
“The paramedics chatted to me at the side of the road for what seemed like five minutes before I was on my way to hospital. As soon as I arrived at A&E, blood was pumped into each arm, and another bag was attached to my neck. I was losing blood faster than it could be transfused. I was still conscious, but the doctors couldn't find a pulse. My chances of survival were very slim.”
Mike was taken to theatre, where surgeons tried to save his leg. During the operation, the entire volume of his blood had to be replaced four times. Two days later, doctors told him that his leg would have to be amputated.
“By then, the pain had become so bad that I was glad it was going to be done. Blood was clotting in my leg, which was poisoning the rest of my body. I really thought I might not make it to the operating table – I felt like I was drifting away.
“When I woke up from my operation I could still barely move, but there was a major improvement in my condition.”
After months of operations, involving a total of 33 units of blood products, Mike is looking positively to the future and is hoping to ride motorbikes again.
“I’m still working hard with my physio. I hope to get into a position where I can be fitted with a flexible knee limb, although this is some way off at the moment.
“Before something like this happens it's easy to go through life blinkered, but now I’m glad to be alive and I appreciate every day. Without blood donors, I definitely wouldn’t be here.”