TEAM EFFORT: Paramedic intern Daniel Clark hugs James Cantrill’s mother Christine Cantrill while surrounded by the emergency services team that saved James’s life – (l-r) Senior Constable Jo Little, senior firefighter David Beattie, Constable Mark Whieldon, Orange Fire and Rescue NSW station officer Matt Jeffery, Inspector Peter Atkins, senior paramedic Matt Pickering, senior firefighter Tim Collins and senior firefighter Dean Brus. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0817james2 GIFT OF LIFE: James Cantrill thanks paramedic intern Daniel Clark for helping to save his life while senior firefighter Dean Brus, family friend Rosslyn Badcock and senior firefighter Tim Collins look on. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0817james3
Nanjing Night Net

“I’M happy to be back and I owe it all to you.”

This was the message James Cantrill had for the emergency services team that saved his life.

Mr Cantrill, 28,suffered horrific injuries in a car accident on Cargo Road on August 1. He woke up four days ago.

“I’m here to tell the tale and I have all of you guys to thank for it,” he told the emergency services team as they crowded into his hospital room yesterday.

Ambulance station officer Matt Pickering was one of the first on the scene of the accident. He said he never thought anyone would have the opportunity to speak to Mr Cantrill again.

“It’s nice to have a job where it ends in this way,” he told Mr Cantrill.

“I didn’t think I’d ever be telling you.”

Mr Pickering said he didn’t expect Mr Cantrill to be alive when he pulled up in the ambulance on that fateful morning. He was shocked when Mr Cantrill opened his eyes.

Christine Cantrill, James’s mother, said if it wasn’t for the extraordinary efforts of the emergency team and the doctors at Orange Health Service her son wouldn’t be alive.

“I just wanted so much to thank you all for the extraordinarily steady care you took of him,” she said.

“The doctors in Sydney told me they had never received a patient so well packaged.

“They said the only reason he is still here is because everyone in Orange did such an amazing job of caring for him … the fact they went so steady.”

Mrs Cantrill hugged everyone of the team as they entered the hospital. She said while the fire crew pulled her son from the wreckage and the ambulance officers treated him, the police gave her the moral support she needed to stay strong.

Mr Pickering said he was just so happy to be able to give Mr Cantrill’s family the amazing gift of life.

“It’s a wonderful gift that everyone was a part of,” he said.

“It’s a testament to the many, many people that helped.”

Mr Pickering said the fire brigade should be commended because he had never seen a more complicated rescue operation.

Orange Fire and Rescue NSW station officer Matt Jeffery said Mr Cantrill’s survival wasn’t just down to the efforts of the rescue crew.

“There’s always a sense of achievement when you remove the person in the same state they were in or better but really it was everybody involved,” he said.

“Everyone contributed to a percentage.”

Mr Jeffery and Mr Pickering said they would have been useless if Orange nurse Karen Fahy hadn’t pulled over at the scene.

“He would have been dead by the time we got there, she kept his airway open,” Mr Pickering said.

Mrs Cantill and her husband Peter said they wanted to thank all of their friends who supported them and helped out on the farm while they were at Westmead Hospital with their son.

Mrs Cantrill said her son was on the mend but not yet out of the woods.

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