From coma to a PhD: Horror crash survivor hails air ambulance

Dr Steve Jones

Dr Steve Jones. - Credit: East Anglian Air Ambulance

Three years ago, he was lying in a hospital bed in a coma, after a horrific motorcycle crash left paramedics and doctors fearing he might not survive.

But today, a recovered Steve Jones is a doctor himself - albeit of a different kind - having completed the PhD he had been working on when he was involved in the crash.

And he says he owes a double debt of gratitude to the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) - for saving his life and for aiding his recovery.

Steve Jones in Addenrbooke's Hospital. Pic: Steve Jones.

Steve Jones in Addenbrooke's Hospital. - Credit: Steve Jones

And, with coronavirus meaning he could not have a graduation ceremony at the University of East Anglia - he had an alternative one with the crew of the air ambulance at their Norwich base.

Dr Jones, 35, from Easton, was riding his Yamaha FZ6 Fazer motorbike - called Miranda - near Waxham, in June 2018, when a car he overtook turned into his path.

Steve Jones on the motorcycle he was riding on the day of the crashl. Pic: Steve Jones.

Steve Jones on the motorcycle he was riding on the day of the crash. - Credit: Steve Jones

He was flung head first through a brick wall and into a ditch filled with water.

The Anglia One helicopter was at the scene within 20 minutes and rescued the unconscious motorcyclist from the ditch.

He was sedated, had tubes put into his neck to help him breathe and was flown to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

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He was in a coma for five weeks and spent 10 weeks in hospital. His head injuries, which included three bleeds on the brain, were so severe, the ambulance crew did not think he would survive.

Air ambulance

Dr Steve Jones with East Anglian Air Ambulance crew members and Prof Fiona Lettice pro-vice chancellor for research and innovation at the UEA. - Credit: East Anglian Air Ambulance

But Dr Jones did recover and said: “Not only did EAAA save me on that day, the aftercare support I have received since has been a lifeline.

"Without them, my recovery would have been 10 times harder, and I may not have had the strength to persevere with - and complete - my PhD in business and management research.

“Now, I am about to embark on an exciting and brand new chapter of my life with an amazing job with Norfolk and Suffolk Police, and this is all thanks to this incredible charity.

Air ambulance

Dr Steve Jones, with Patrick Peal, who recently retired as chief executive of East Anglian Air Ambulance. - Credit: East Anglian Air Ambulance

"The official UEA summer congregation has sadly been postponed to next year, but I’m thrilled to have been able to have an ‘EAAA graduation’ instead, as completing my PhD just wouldn’t have happened without them.

"I felt championed by EAAA to complete my PhD in setting a goal to do so, and alongside UEA and Colman Hospital, they provided a huge amount of encouragement and support to meet that goal."

"It’s been wonderful to be able to come back and see the new EAAA base, too."

The air ambulance is now able to fly 24 hours a day and Dr Jones said: By being 24/7 by helicopter, I know this amazing charity will be there for many more people like me when they’re needed."