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Patient and paramedic reunited after a decade

A paramedic from Greenwich ambulance station has been reunited with a man whose life he helped to save more than a decade ago.

Dick Ranshaw, now a team leader, was working at Lee station in December 1994 when he went to the aid of Philip Watling, who had been hit by a car. The 23-year-old had just got off the bus and was crossing the road, when he was struck by the car. His head was thrown against the bus, leaving him badly injured and brain damaged.

Dick, along with other staff who have since left the Service, treated Philip before he was flown by air ambulance to the Royal London Hospital. He spent five months in hospital, undergoing extensive rehabilitation—including learning to walk and talk again. Philip, who now lives in Milton Keynes, recently travelled to London to be reunited with Dick at the Service’s Headquarters in Waterloo.

Dick, 52, of Andover Road, Orpington, has been with the Service for 33 years. He said: “I remember getting to the scene and seeing him lying in the road. He was very seriously injured and was not expected to live. I was really shocked when I got a letter from him all those years later, but I was able to tell him what I remembered of the accident and it was good to meet him and see how much progress he has made.”

It was a long road to recovery for Philip and to help with the recuperation he began to write a journal.Thirteen years on and his memories of the accident and his battle back to health are to be published in a book called ‘Flight of a Lifetime’, which is due out soon.

Philip, 36, previously of Hither Green and Lee, said: “Writing the book was very helpful for me and a way of thanking all of the people who helped me that day and during my recovery, as well as getting everything straight in my head. My heart stopped beating twice that day but they brought me back and I feel very lucky to be here today. I hope the book can help and inspire others.”

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