Kirkcudbright Teenager Involved In Quad Bike Crash Reunited With Medics Who Saved His Life

Callum McDougall, 15, was riding a quad bike while working on a game shooting estate in Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway on 2 July last year.

He cannot recall the crash, but he remembers everything leading up to it.

He said: “I was working on the estate and bringing in the drinkers to wash them, so the pheasants could have a drink. I remember spinning round on the quad bike and then I was out.”

His mother, Amy Woodrow, was at her home in Kirkcudbright, after dropping Callum off at work, when she spotted the helicopter from the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).

She said: “I was tidying the house and I was just about to put the last of my rubbish out in the wheelie bin at the front door, and a helicopter flew over the house, which you don’t see many of in our area.
“Within an hour the police came down the path and said, ‘your son has been in an accident’ and it dawned on me that the helicopter was actually for him.”

The nearest air ambulance service was unavailable at the time, so the critical care team from GNAAS, based in Langwathby, Cumbria, flew to the scene, which was on the A711, Mutehill, Kirkcudbright.

Dr Mark Byers from GNAAS, said: “It was evident that Callum had sustained a significant injury, so to prevent it from getting any worse, we put him in a medically induced coma on the roadside. This can only be safely performed outside of a hospital by a doctor and critical care paramedic.
“We then flew him to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, from where he was then transferred to the Royal Hospital for Children.”

Callum had suffered a traumatic brain injury and the following day he underwent a decompressive craniectomy, a procedure which involves removing part of the skull to reduce the pressure on his brain.

He initially spent two months in hospital, but unfortunately, the removed bone got infected during this time, so instead of being reattached to his skull, he recently had a titanium plate fitted in his head.

He also sustained an injury to his leg, a spinal fracture, partial hearing loss and lost his sense of smell.

He said: “I’ve got a bit of short-term memory loss and I feel a bit fatigued so I’m not a hundred percent but I’m getting better every day and I’ve already been back on a quad bike.”

Since the incident Callum and his family have visited GNAAS’ base and met the critical care team who came to his aid.


Amy said: “I’m so pleased we got to meet and shake the hands of the men that got Callum to hospital. They were so modest and unassuming in regards to the crucial part they played on the day, and in Callum’s words ‘just brilliant’.”
Mark added: “It was great to see Callum doing so well and hear that the incident hasn’t put him off riding quad bikes. I just hope the next time he gets on one he puts his safety first and remembers to wear a helmet.”