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Trauma training day

A high speed road traffic collision has left multiple casualties in urgent need of medical attention. The front seat passenger from one of the vehicles is lying unconscious with serious head injuries on the bonnet of a car after going through the windscreen.

Trauma training main shot

The driver is about to fall unconscious, while one rear seat passenger has neck and abdominal injuries, and another has superficial injuries but is hysterical due to the traumatic events. In the second car an elderly driver is sitting motionless and in pain.

This was one of four simulated incidents on Thursday, March 15, run by South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) clinical team leaders (CTLs) from Leatherhead Ambulance Station.

In reality life-threatening trauma incidents are uncommon for a typical ambulance crew, but when emergency services respond, how they interact could be crucial to clinical outcomes.

Hosted by Surrey Fire and Rescue Service at Leatherhead Fire Station, fire crews from Epsom and Dorking trained alongside SECAmb clinicians in exercises examining their unique skills, as well as their teamwork.

Two road traffic collisions using upturned vehicles tested how 999 crews come to a team decision when faced with technically difficult entrapments where hydraulic cutting gear is needed to free victims.

A fourth scenario saw crews dealing with casualties after a gas explosion where workmen were on an elevated platform, using prosthetics on one victim to simulate being impaled.

Trauma training

Members of St John’s volunteered as casualties, wearing make-up to create visually realistic injuries and they were briefed by CTLs who threw in the medical equivalent of a ‘curve ball’ to see how crews reacted to changes in patients’ conditions.

Dan Dodd, a third year student paramedic from Leatherhead Ambulance Station, dealt with one scenario.

“One of the drivers suddenly fell unconscious and she was found to be hypoglycaemic, so I reacted by giving her a [simulated] glucose injection,” Dan said.

“This was my first situation as a paramedic where there were multiple casualties. I found it very useful in terms of prioritising patients, basically assessing where I need to be at the right time to treat the most critically injured.”

Watch manager at Leatherhead Fire Station, Steve Smith, said: “They were very good training exercises between the two services. As it’s a controlled environment you can step back, assess, and communicate with each other, which is invaluable going forward because some members might not have attended a major trauma scene before.”

Event organiser, CTL for Leatherhead Ambulance Station, Vickey Johnson, thanked her staff who gave up their free time to attend the event and added: “Joint training gives emergency services a practical insight into the resources you have at your disposal at trauma incidents.

“Thankfully, trauma makes up a small part of the work we do as a Trust. Building good relations with the fire and rescue service makes everybody operate more efficiently, which ultimately improves clinical outcomes for patients.”

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