So when I heard of Dr. John Hind's accident, I was working down the country. I hadn't received full details, and I have to confess to not treating the news as seriously as I should have, but this was for a good reason. John Hinds wasn't the the kind of person you associated with dying. He was to many who knew him, the closest incarnation we are likely to see, of a superhero. An effortless medical consultant, educator, entertainer and wit, with the odd ability to do amazing wheelies as he was en route to deliver world class trauma medicine. (Oh and don't forget that damn ponytail).
I remember wondering many things during John's talks. I wondered mainly, did he ever resuscitate a civil servant, because the final words of most 'Cases From The Races' talks was normally, "He had a good outcome and is now back running his own business". Strangely, all the time we heard of the difficult cases that John spoke about, we never thought that he would end up on the other side of the story. Even when he did, I could only imagine him walking onto the SMACC 2016 home fixture in Dublin, waving a crutch, and having another firm opinion on some medical procedure or technique.
When I heard John had died I couldn't believe it. I had shared a drink with him in Chicago a week before, following his rockstar performance at SMACC Chicago. I was in a coffee shop in Ennis, and received some very strange looks from the tourists present. Some thought to come over to give me a hug I'm sure, but there was scant need. The worldwide #FOAMed community, back in their virtual world after the recent real world meeting in Chicago, really were amazing. Memories, support, hashtags and yarns came from every corner of the world, literally from New York City to Kangaroo Island.
The trip to Portaferry for the funeral was bittersweet. It was nice to meet John's partner Janet and his parents and family (two legged and four). It was nice to have a night to reminisce with his motorbike rescue colleagues at a quaint local bar. The day of the funeral was of course very sad, but also gave birth to a movement which has resulted in funding being provided to realise John's dream, of a HEMS helicopter for Northern Ireland.
Dr. Fred Mc Sorely, John's great mentor, told us all about the call sign #Delta7, and said he hoped some day to hear that call sign used, as the hell landed on the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
The official launch of this service was on 21 March 2016 at Craigavon Hospital. It was a remarkable development in a relatively short timescale, and a great tribute to all who campaigned and worked towards that goal.
So a year on, what are the main things we have been left?
Excellence. John always told the MCI medics "Lets be the best at this". He has a passion for clinical excellence that was inspiring and engaging.
Humour. John was proof that you didn't need a pinstripe suit and bad attitude to prove you were awesome. Always have time for a laugh, and never take yourself too seriously.
Education. John was always teaching. 4am observing a junior colleague doing a tricky procedure for the first time, or showing the local voluntaries how an RSI goes. Everyone was included.
So John has left a huge legacy. He has inspired so many people all over the world, as is evidenced by the worldwide demand for the #Delta7 pins(http://www.skillshop.ie/delta7-pin/), that people wear at work as a reminder to not be a #ResusWanker and to #BeTheBestAtThis.
The latest hashtag Janet gave us at SMACCdub was #WhatWouldJohnDo? Well a friend of mine who had met John a few times, said he didn't know what to do when he heard of John's passing. "So I went out and checked over my medical bag". That, I believe, is probably what John would want you to do.