Patient Story -

Itís a miracle Darren Philip is alive today

The father of three wasn’t expected to survive a horrific car crash that left him critically injured and fighting for his life.

On July 11 2014, Darren was driving home along a stretch of road when his car smashed head-on into a four-wheel drive.

Trapped in the mangled wreckage, Darren was losing blood rapidly from a severed artery in his tongue.

His only hope for survival was an emergency airlift and life-saving surgery.  

RACQ CareFlight Rescue was quickly dispatched to Darren’s rescue. 

CareFlight provided critical pre-hospital care at the scene of the accident and throughout his flight to hospital.

Aircrewman Ryan Purchase was on board CareFlight’s rescue helicopter that day and described the scene of the crash as horrific.

“Seeing the wreckage, it’s incredible we had a patient to treat that day as the car was completely unrecognisable,” Aircrewman Ryan said.

CareFlight’s Critical Care Doctor, Hayley Frieslich, worked quickly to stabilise Darren so he could be safely airlifted to the nearest hospital.

“Darren had blood pooling in the back of his throat and had suffered some of the worst facial injuries I have seen,” Dr Hayley said.

“This was affecting his ability to swallow and keep his airways clear.

"In the state we found him, his condition was life-threatening.”

Darren was immediately flown to hospital where he was rushed into emergency surgery to reattach his jaw and stop the profuse bleeding from his severed tongue.

“Surgeons had to put my face back together because the force of the collision had pulled my face apart at the jaw,” Darren recalled.

The full extent of Darren’s serious injuries included brain and spinal injuries; a fractured skull; lacerated tongue and liver; a collapsed lung; two broken arms; a broken leg, ankle, pelvis, upper and lower jaw; and numerous abrasions. 

Yet Darren put up a remarkable fight.

He was in an induced coma in the Intensive Care Unit for two weeks, spent a further two months in hospital and still has ongoing rehabilitation.

Darren also endured 15 major operations.

There’s no doubt that CareFlight’s swift air-medical intervention played a crucial role in helping save Darren’s life.

While still on the long road to a full recovery, Darren is extremely thankful for CareFlight’s involvement that day.

“With the amount of blood I lost, I am certain I wouldn’t be alive today if I had to make the journey to hospital by road,” he said.

“I never thought I’d need CareFlight like that. I know for sure without them I wouldn’t be here.”

Please consider making a donation to CareFlight to ensure our not-for-profit community service is available for patients, just like Darren who urgently need our help.