When a white Nissan Navara collided head on with a St John Ambulance on Mundijong Road on October 10 Wesley Ackerman’s life changed forever.
The Hilbert resident and Serpentine Jarrahdale based paramedic spent weeks fighting for his life at Royal Perth Hospital but despite the odds he was discharged early last month.
Mr Ackerman faces a long road to recovery but said he will be home with his family this holiday season, which is nothing short of a Christmas miracle.
“I just do not know what to say,” he said.
“St John’s has been excellent, they are heroes.”
Mr Ackerman struggled to control his emotions as his eyes welled with tears and he recounted what he could remember of the accident.
“I have a lot of memory loss,” he said.
“Which is probably a good thing, but I remember bits and pieces.”
Mr Ackerman said his work partner Sharon Price swerved to avoid the white car and the ambulance rolled over.
“It was an impact of 200km per hour,” he said
“Luckily I had dozed off because I was relaxed when we were hit.
“With the impact I was pushed upwards and pinned to the top of the car with my seatbelt when Sharon looked for me she couldn’t find me.”
Mr Ackerman said he was trapped in the mangled car for almost an hour while paramedics and rescue teams worked to cut him out.
“All they could see was my hand and my left leg was tangled around my right leg,” he said.
“I had internal injuries and when they released me I started bleeding profusely and my breathing stopped.”
It was a race against time to save him and Mr Ackerman was immediately taken to Royal Perth Hospital where he said the doctors opened him up, stuffed him with padding to absorb the bleeding and left him to recover before they could start working on fixing his injuries.
“I stayed alive,” he said.
“I am so grateful to everyone, without them I wouldn’t be here.
“The doctors, the nurses, St John’s, my beautiful wife Odile has been a real trooper.”
Metropolitan Ambulance general manager James Sherriff paid special tribute to Mr Ackerman’s colleagues.
“To be confronted by a scene like that is difficult at any time,” he said.
“However, having a friend and colleague as the patient would have to be your worst nightmare.”
Mr Sherriff said it was an incredible team effort by police, ambulance, the fire department, RAC helicopter and Royal Perth Hospital.
“We are privileged to have an incredible emergency and health services in Western Australia,” he said.
“The way everyone handled the situation was exceptional and I thank everyone involved.”