How Gloucestershire surgeon Charlie Chan raced to the rescue after HGV crash on Severn Bridge

Gloucestershire surgeon Charlie Chan who is famous for saving a rock star’s life came to the rescue when a lorry driver collapsed at the wheel on the Severn Bridge today. The Cheltenham doctor rushed down to the lorry at the side of the River Severn and performed CPR on the unconscious driver. Dr Chan climbed into the cab with the two firefighters and helped them until paramedics and the air ambulance arrived at the scene on Wednesday afternoon.

But although he was hailed a hero by some he said: “It was just one of those things you have got to do. You go on auto pilot really.” Mr Chan is a well-know surgeon and cancer specialist at Cheltenham General Hospital.

He is famous as the doctor who saved  musician Wilko Johnson’s life after persuading him to  seek a second opinion when he received a terminal pancreatic cancer diagnosis in 2013. Today he tried to save the life a truck driver who collapsed at the wheel while driving to Wales.

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 Traffic Wales camera image shows the lorry has gone off the carriageway

Motorists speculated that if it had happened a few minutes later the HGV could have plunged over the side of the bridge. Dr Chan said: “It was a 50-year-old Romanian truck driver and we think he had a heart attack at the wheel.

“He careered across the carriageway into the central reservation and ended up down an embankment on the Western side of the bridge. “I was driving to an appointment when I came across a short traffic jam and saw the central reservation had been smashed up and all these people at the side of the road looking down to the riverside. “I just ran down the embankment and came across two firemen and an unconscious driver in the cab.

It was a real struggle getting into the cab but I climbed in and performed CPR untol the air ambulance arrived and took him to hospital.”

How Gloucestershire surgeon Charlie Chan raced to the rescue after HGV crash on Severn BridgeA Traffic England camera showing an empty Severn Brdige after it was closed this morning following a serious crash

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The crash closed the Prince of Wales Bridge, the second Severn Crossing, and caused major congestion in the area with traffic being diverted via Chepstow. After the patient was flown to hospital the doctor tweeted that he had done his good deed for the day. The driver’s condition is unknown and he bridge is still closed.

How Gloucestershire surgeon Charlie Chan raced to the rescue after HGV crash on Severn BridgeWilko Johnson band will be performing in Cheltenham

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Outside work the surgeon, who dreamed of being a doctor from the age of 12, takes pictures of rock stars such as Jamie Cullum.

Mr Chan arranged for Wilko Johnson to see surgeon Emmanuel Huguet  who later operated to remove the tumour and saved the musician’s life.

He once said photography was like surgery because it was all about people’s stories.

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