I was driving my mother home from hospital along the road between Bandon and Timoleague. My car skidded on grit and went out of control, crashing into a pillar and gate on the front passenger side.
I managed to get out of the car, but my mother’s door was jammed solid up against the pillar.
Within a few minutes, a lorry approached and the driver called 999 to report our accident. After 20 minutes, I heard the siren approaching and the West Cork Rapid Response vehicle pulled up, with Dr Jason Van Der Veldt driving.
He treated my mother immediately and then tended to my own wounds while we waited for the fire crews from Bandon and Clonakilty who then cut my mother from the car.
The nearest ambulances on the day were in Skibbereen and Macroom.
The West Cork Rapid Response vehicle is not an ambulance and does not compete with the ambulance service.
When the ambulance crew arrived, they worked with Dr Van Der Velt to make both of us patients more comfortable. My mother and I are eternally grateful to West Cork Rapid Response and its doctor.
Afterwards we were surprised to learn this is a totally voluntary service. Since our experience we have learned of many more incidences around west Cork where the prompt arrival of the rapid response team meant treatment for patients in the critical minutes after an accident and, in some cases, it has literally saved lives.