5-year-old Thusha was playing in the aisle of her uncle’s shop in Stockwell, when she was caught in a gang crossfire, taking a bullet to the chest. An advanced trauma team from London’s Air Ambulance had to perform emergency surgery on Thusha in the street outside the shop. This procedure kept her breathing until she reached hospital.

When London’s Air Ambulance arrived by her side Thusha was suffocating and bleeding heavily. “All I was thinking was that I couldn’t let her die. She was five and she’d taken a bullet to the chest. That was unbelievable to me,” said Dr Vidar Magnusson, who treated Thusha with paramedic Caroline Appleby.

The pressure in her chest made it difficult for her to breathe and also caused her heart to collapse and stop beating. By making surgical holes in her chest, the team relieved the pressure and Thusha regained a pulse. They rushed her to nearby Kings College Hospital in a land ambulance but had to perform further clinical procedures when she suddenly deteriorated on route.

“Thank you. I still have my daughter because of you,” said Thusha’s father when he met the team.

Thusha has defied her injuries with an amazing will to survive. “I wanted to meet the doctors because they helped me and I wouldn’t be alive if they didn’t,”she said.

The bullet shattered her spine and Thusha was left paralysed from the chest down. Doctors said she would never regain feeling in her lower body – but Thusha has worked tirelessly to prove them wrong. She can now move her left leg and is determined to learn to walk again.

Back to Our Patients