On Wednesday 15th July, mum, wife and horse fanatic Karina O’Brien set off on her first family beach day since lockdown. Her husband and boys were all excited as they loaded her horse Foley into his trailer and hit the road.

Karina, who lives in Kings Lynn, explains, “It was a gorgeous day as we arrived at Brancaster beach. We unloaded Foley and tacked him up. As we were approaching the walk way to the beach a noisy vehicle came into the car park, Foley took a few steps back and caught his leg on a sharp edge of a metal sign. As this cut him he started to buck and bronc! I came out of the saddle and as I fell Foley kicked me in the chest. I hit the ground at an awkward angle, ending up face-down in the sand, winded and unable to breathe.”

At that moment, Karina was so grateful for the people around her. She continues, “A lovely couple saw the incident from their car and ran to help. The woman cared for my boys who were shocked by what they’d just seen happen to their mum, while another couple who had horses of their own managed to catch Foley with my husband and get him back in his trailer.”

“I was in agony but an EEAST first responder reached me within minutes, quickly followed by Magpas Air Ambulance and another EEAST paramedic crew.” The Magpas advanced medical team flew straight there, landing right by Karina on Brancaster beach shortly after taking off from their operations base in Cambridgeshire (a journey that would usually take over an hour and a half by road).

Karina continues, “Magpas Air Ambulance Doctor Ali and Critical Care Paramedic Dan assessed me there and then. They were amazing. I was so frightened but they were wonderful, reassuring, and calm. Fortunately I had no life-threatening injuries so they gave me advanced pain relief at the scene – something that’s usually only available in a hospital A&E department – and left me in the care of the EEAST Ambulance Service paramedic crew who took me to hospital.”

“Thankfully, after lots more pain relief and a quite a few scans, I’m lucky to say I only suffered a rib fracture and whiplash. And although I was very sore, swollen and had a hoof shaped bruise on my chest, I was able to go home the next day – just in time for my son’s 13th birthday!”

“It will take me about 6 weeks to heal, but I know it could have been a lot worse. I can’t thank everyone who came to my rescue enough! From Magpas Dr Ali and CCP Dan, the EEAST crew and the staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, to the coastguard and kind strangers who jumped into action to help us; you’re all amazing!”

Magpas Air Ambulance is a charity that relies on generous donations to continue to provide the very best emergency medical care, in the air or on land, 24/7. If you can donate today, please do so here.


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