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24 January 2011, 16:24 | Updated: 10 February 2011, 11:35
An Air Ambulance paramedic had to be airlifted by her fellow crew members after she was knocked unconscious in a horse riding accident.
Natalie Brodrick was cantering along on five-year-old gelding Bonnet when he tripped over a rabbit hole in a field.
The 32-year-old was thrown off her horse and landed on her head, suffering a reduced level of consciousness and wrist injuries.
Natalie managed to phone her boyfriend Chris Baker and sister Emily who called 999. The Kent Air Ambulance was then called and airlifted her to hospital.
She said: “I came round on the floor and could not understand what had happened. Bonnet hadn’t run off and was stood next to me.
“I could not work out where phoned my boyfriend who was at my house. I said I’d fallen off and had hit my head but didn’t know where I was.
“He told me to stay where I was and that he was coming to get me. I don’t remember making that call. I then rang my sister but didn’t know it was her I was talking to.
“I remember thinking that I had to get to the farm nearby so I was leading my horse and my boyfriend could see me walking from the main road but when he got to me I was sat on the floor again.”
Natalie’s colleague, Critical Care Paramedic Jon Sanders, was on the Air Ambulance dispatch desk when the 999 call came in. He was unaware that the patient was Natalie.
The decision to call the helicopter was made in the call centre because she had suffered a head injury, the remote location and the nearest land ambulance was half an hour away in Tenterden.
It took pilot Blaine Ashurst, Dr Amy Hughes and Critical Care Paramedic Chris Fudge 15 minutes to get to Camber near Rye where they landed on the beach.
Natalie was then flown to the William Harvey Hospital at Ashford but was discharged later that day. She was off work for a month following the accident last month.
She has now urged fellow horse riders to always carry a mobile phone, tell family and friends where they are going, wear a body protector and replace helmets after a fall.
She added: “I feel a bit humbled and a bit embarrassed by the situation but at least I was wearing a body protector. I would have been more seriously hurt otherwise.
“I’ve been riding since the age of four and it was a freak accident which could have happened to anyone.”