Calls for an air ambulance service as the best possible memorial for Tandragee’s ‘special flying doctor’ John Hinds were reinforced at his funeral service on Thursday.
Dr John, who saved so many lives in the biking world, died after a fatal accident in the Skerries 100 (County Dublin) practice session a fortnight ago.
His partner Dr Janet Acheson, his cousin Fr Michael Hinds – who conducted the Requiem Mass - his parents Dermot and Josephine and colleague Dr Fred MacSorley all underlined the need for the ambulance.
It was the cherished dream of Dr John, former biker and revered medic in road racing world throughout Ireland, whose funeral was in his original home village of Portaferry.
Craigavon Area Hospital anaesthetist Dr John and his partner Dr Janet – an obstetrician at Daisy Hill, Newry – shared their lives as respected residents of Tandragee. And she placed a rose on his coffin at the church where he was baptised 35 years ago.
In a statement prior to Thursday’s Requiem Mass, Janet said, “I urge you all, on John’s behalf, to help us ensure that his dream of a first-class, world-leading network – with a doctor-led helicopter emergency network at its core – becomes a reality so that it can start saving lives on our doorstep.”
And his cousin Fr Hinds told the mourners that the reversal of roles when doctors in Dublin strove to save John’s life after his fatal crash was irony in the extreme – “The administration of medical care was his role, his expertise and even to a large degree his raison d’etre in life.”
John’s great friend, fellow road racing medic and Craigavon colleague Dr Fred MacSorley – who delivered the eulogy – spoke of “an extraordinary man, an inspirational teacher” who, a few days before his death, had spoken passionately at a trauma conference in Chicago. He added, “John usually reached the scene of the accidents first, and I usually played the role of the second opinion.”
He also revealed that the blood from 54 donors had been used at the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin in a bid to save John’s life. He was kept alive overnight, and the last of his family – brother Colin – flew over from London to be with him before life ebbed away.
Dr MacSorley ended with a passionate plea for the ambulance helicopter service, allied to a heliport at the top of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.