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‘Inspirational leader’ and air ambulance doctor retires

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Dr Pam Chrispin – East Anglian Air Ambulance’s first female flying doctor – has retired after 14 years with the life-saving charity.

The 62-year-old, from Roydon, joined the service in 2007 – at a time when all the doctors in the service were volunteers.

In 2016, she was one of the first doctors to be formally employed by the service and, two years later, became the first deputy medical director – a post she held until her retirement on Monday.

Dr Pam Chrispin. Picture by EAAA (54607043)
Dr Pam Chrispin. Picture by EAAA (54607043)

Reflecting on her time with the organisation, the grandmother-of-five said: “A lot has changed in the last 14 years. The service is now highly professional and the care we can deliver pre-hospital is simply amazing.

“It has been a huge privilege to be able to help to train the next generation of pre-hospital emergency medicine specialists and to see them leap-frogging me in terms of their skills, drive and ambition to continuously improve patient care.”

To mark Dr Chrispin’s retirement from a 44-year medical career, the air ambulance organised a surprise treasure hunt across Norfolk, where she was reunited with patients, friends and colleagues.

This included a police guard of honour at the Norfolk Police Training School thanks to Chief Inspector Keith Philpot and his team.

Two of the people Dr Chrispin was also reunited with was a mother and child from Royston who she helped to save in 2018.

Emma Cavanagh was 37 weeks pregnant with daughter Willow, now three, when she suffered a placental abruption – a serious complication which put both of their lives at risk.

The expectant mother was losing a lot of blood but, thanks to Dr Chrispin’s quick diagnosis and speedy onward journey to hospital for major surgery, both lives were saved.

Ms Cavanagh said: “She is our absolute hero. If it was not for her, we would not be here today; I would not have a precious family.

“She means the absolute world to us, so we feel so honoured that we have been asked to be here for her retirement.

“I feel so proud that we can bring Willow here to see Pam again and she can see her. It is just so lovely to be part of this.”

As the charity’s deputy medical director, Dr Chrispin’s legacy has involved creating a formal governance structure and leading the clinical training and continuous education for the service’s fleet of doctors and critical care paramedics, nurturing the next generation.

Medical director Dr Victor Inyang said: “Dr Chrispin has been an inspirational leader and colleague at the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

“She has been at the core of developing our pre-hospital critical care service, which we are all proud of. A truly remarkable legacy.”

Though Dr Chrispin has retired from the air ambulance, she will still carry on her role as a non-executive director at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and will work as an executive coach.

In her retirement, Dr Chrispin, who is married to Wayne, said she was looking forward to having more time to dedicate to tennis, cycling and looking after her grandchildren.

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