A soldier who was seriously injured in a roadside bomb in Afghanistan told Prince Charles that he was lucky to be alive thanks to the treatment he received at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.
The Prince of Wales took special time out from his tour of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine to sit down and chat to RAF Senior Aircraftman Mike Goody.
SAC Goody, aged 23, from Little Hampton, Sussex, was on infantry duties in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in October, when his vehicle was blown up by an improvised explosive device.
His ankle and heel were shattered in the blast and he was immediately medevaced to Selly Oak Hospital for specialist treatment.
Just seven weeks after the horrific incident, SAC Goody was able to sit up in his wheelchair and explain what happened in a one-to-one chat with Prince Charles.
SAC Goody, who was three months into his first operational tour of duty when he was wounded, said: “I can’t remember much of the incident and the helicopter ride was a complete blur because I was being pumped with morphine to take away the pain.
“But since I’ve been here the nurses and doctors have been brilliant. From being 100 percent bed-ridden through to being mobile enough to get my independence back, they have just been great.
“I’m determined to get back into the RAF when I’ve recovered,” he added “I may be restricted in what duties I can do but if you asked me to go out to Afghanistan again I wouldn’t hesitate to say ‘Yes’.”
Prince Charles visited 24 soldiers in the trauma unit, one soldier in the burns unit and four in the intensive care unit.
All of them had been flown to Selly Oak Hospital after suffering life threatening wounds in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In his third visit to the hospital this year, Prince Charles praised the doctors and nurses for their dedicated work but told one nurse he was concerned about the long hours they were working.
Yvonne Murphy, theatre manager at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, added: “His Royal Highness asked us a lot of questions and seemed genuinely interested in what we were doing.
“But he did express his concerns about the length of our shifts, especially when he heard one doctors was still working after being on-call the night before.”
Nurse Dee Cope said: “You could tell that he wasn’t just here to do a standard tour and that he was here because he cared.
“Some of the doctors explained some of the complex brain surgery the patients go through when they arrive with serious injuries and he wanted to know more about how we stopped patients getting secondary injuries.
“We also told him that we were continuing to build up our skills as we experienced patients with different types of trauma.”
Since January 2008 around 1,000 soldiers have been treated on the military wing of Selly Oak Hospital after they suffered injuries in conflict zones.
Since the hospital won the contract to care for military personnel in 2001, more than 9,000 inpatients and 39,000 outpatients have been treated there.