‘Without the Leeds trauma centre, I wouldn’t be here today’

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It is a lifeline based in the heart of Leeds that offers invaluable care for those who have suffered life-changing injuries.

Leeds’s Major Trauma Centre is the first port of call for patients involved in high-speed crashes, explosions or wounded by gunshots or blades.

The second largest of its kind in the country, around 80 per cent of people in Yorkshire fall within the centre’s catchment area, and can be airlifted to the helicopter pad on top of Leeds General Infirmary in emergencies.

And the centre, run by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, is celebrating five years of providing care this month.

After an astonishing 52 operations, Leeds businessman Gary Brennan owes his life to its surgeons.

His motorcycle collided with a car on the B1222 near Sherburn-in-Elmet, and he was brought back to life three times as staff at the trauma centre fought to rebuild his shattered frame after arriving at the LGI’s helipad.

The dad-of-four’s horrific catalogue of injuries including bleeding on the brain, three spinal fractures, a collapsed lung, broken shoulder blades, fractured ribs, a crushed kidney, torn liver, bruised heart and breaks in several places on both legs.

“It’s a phenomenal place,” Mr Brennan, now 60, said.

“When I learned about what I had gone through after waking up I couldn’t believe it.

“The staff no matter what are just trying to save or preserve a life.

“If the trauma centre wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be here today. I didn’t have a hope in hell.”

Following years of recovery and procedures after the horror smash in 2010, Mr Brennan can now walk short distances but mostly uses a segway to get around.

The grandad-of-four helped set up the LGI-based Day One charity following his life-changing trauma, with Leeds consultant Professor Peter Giannoudis.

The charity supports patients and their families during their hospital stay, offers rehabilitation help and carries out research in major trauma.

Mr Brennan added: “It works and it’s effective, it gives people help and confidence because they know there is someone else out there who knows what they are going through.”

In 2013, Leeds’s Major Trauma Centre took in about 900 severely injured patients.

But that has almost doubled to about 1,600 every year.

The five-year milestone for the centre comes as the YEP is highlighting the vital work carried out by healthcare staff in the city, as part of our We Love Our NHS campaign.

The NHS trust has invested more than £8m since it was set up to fund better facilities, including the creation of a dedicated Major Trauma Centre ward and theatre.

David Berridge, deputy chief medical officer at the trust, said: “As well as being second largest Major Trauma Centre in the country we have consistently remained in the top three for outcome.

“Over the last three years, Leeds Major Trauma Centre has been leading the way nationally in the management of major limb trauma requiring combined plastic and orthopaedic surgery - a huge achievement.”

For more information about the Day One charity, visit www.dayone.uk.com