BASICS Doctor Receives Award

Originally posted: 03/03/2011


Held on 3rd March 2011

Awards presented by Chief Constable Justine Curran

and Tayside Joint Police Board Convener, Councillor Ian Mackintosh.

Royal Humane Society Testimonial on Parchment
Mr Martin Farnworth (unable to attend)
Dr Catrina Hewitt
Mr Liam McKenzie
(Perthshire Incident)

On the afternoon of Wednesday, December 9, 2009, schoolgirl Shannon Weir was among a group who were mountain biking, when she lost control of her bike, collided with a bridge and fell about 40-feet into a fast flowing and narrow section of the River Braan.

Fortunately, Shannon, a non swimmer, avoided hitting the rocky sides of the ravine and plummeted straight into the icy water, which washed her some distance downstream.

Mr Farnworth and Mr McKenzie, who were with the group, saw the incident happen and immediately contacted the emergency services. They made their way down the steep and dangerous banks to wade into the water and pull Shannon to safety.

While they tended to her injuries, Dr Catrina Hewitt, a local GP and BASICS doctor, arrived at the scene. She wasn’t appropriately dressed for the conditions that faced her, but nevertheless, climbed down the rocky, muddy and very slippery embankment.

The doctor tended to Shannon, who was conscious, suffering pain in her lower back and hypothermic.

The narrowness of the gorge and the heavy tree cover meant that removing Shannon was extremely difficult. A Royal Navy Search and Rescue Helicopter was dispatched and when it arrived, Shannon and Dr Hewitt were winched into the aircraft. Shannon was taken to hospital where she spent two weeks receiving treatment for her various injuries.

Mr Farnworth and Mr McKenzie risked their lives by climbing down into the ravine to rescue Shannon. Likewise, Dr Hewitt, in her capacity as a BASICS doctor, climbed down to reach and treat Shannon. Any of them could have slipped and suffered severe injury. In recognition of their courageous actions, they have each been awarded a Testimonial on Parchment by the Committee of the Royal Humane Society.