JOAN Goldsmith celebrated her 70th birthday with the doctor whose pioneering treatment helped to save her.
Eleven years ago, Joan had been driving home from work at West Suffolk Hospital when a car strayed across the road and smashed into her vehicle.
Dr Andy Mason, from the voluntary Suffolk Accident Rescue Service, helped to save her life after developing a technique to use a device called a Pharmacologically Assisted Laryngeal Mask (Palm) to feed oxygen at a faster rate to seriously injured accident victim.
Palm is about to get the medical green light to be used at accident scenes across the UK.
And Joan, who was only the third person ever to receive the treatment, has battled back to defy doctors who said she would never regain her memory or talk again.
“Nobody expected Joan to see the day out let alone go on to see her 70th birthday,” said Dr Mason.
“She took one look at me at her party and said: ‘You’re that person that put that tube down my throat’.
“It was lovely to see her again and a great priviledge for me to have been involved in her rescue.”
Dr Mason said he was only one part of the emergency service response that saved Joan’s life following the crash at Great Barton.
But Kay Eggleston, one of Joan’s three daughters holds Dr Mason in such high regard she named her pet dog after him.
“We are forever in his debt. If it wasn’t for him, there is no way mum would have made it,” she said.
The accident left Joan brain damaged and in wheelchair.
Elvis fan Joan, who has one great grandaughter and another on the way, celebrated her birthday in Bury on Friday. Although Dr Mason used to sing as Elvis with the Travelling Raspberries, he was given the night off to enjoy Elvis impersonator Paul Thorpe.
SARS, which is 40 years old, is a voluntary service and depends on donations. Visit www.sars999.co.uk