Barking paramedic honoured for saving life of Britain’s youngest gunshot victim
PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 May 2018
A paramedic from Barking has been honoured for saving the life of Britain’s youngest gunshot victim.
James Lafferty, of Keir Hardie Way, was one of three medics handed the NHS Heroes’ Emergency Lifesaver Award at a glitzy ceremony in Mayfair on Monday.
The 29-year-old and crewmate Sherridan Best were the first to reach Thusha Kamaleswaran, a five-year-old girl caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting at her uncle’s grocery shop in Brixton.
A bullet hit Thusha in the chest during the attack in 2011, shattering her spine and leaving her paralysed.
Presented the award by TV stars Richard Hammond and Katie Piper, James admitted he had only been working as a paramedic for four months when he raced to the scene.
“It was a very emotional night,” he said. “When our award was announced, the whole room stood up. We had celebrities telling us we were amazing but the best bit about the night was seeing Thusha again and how far she has come.”
When he saw she had been shot, he asked police to call a doctor and began to treat her.
After relieving the pressure from her collapsed lung and attaching a defibrillator, he moved the injured girl to the street so that doctor could work on her when she arrived.
“I think about Thusha every day,” he added. “We train for this but you can never be mentally prepared to deal with a five-year-old who has been shot.
“I think it brought me closer to my colleagues. We are there to help people when they need it: we help people, we also help each other.”
The red carpet bash celebrated 70 years of the NHS.
Game show presenter Paul O’Grady hosted the star-studded event, which received a royal welcome in the form of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and a recorded message from Prince William.
The former air ambulance pilot paid tribute to NHS staff and volunteers, calling the public health service “one of our country’s greatest treasures, and something we should all be immensely proud of.”
“The skill, care and dedication that they provide every day is truly inspirational,” he added.