Dr Bob Tipping and Critical Care Practitioner (CCP) Rhyan Curtin were presented with the Special Incident Award at the national Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence in London.
The prestigious awards, which are organised by the Air Ambulance Association, are independently judged and recognise outstanding work carried out by air ambulance crews.
The medics, who fly on board WAA as part of the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS Cymru) programme, were awarded the accolade in recognition of a challenging case they attended.
The medics were called to an industrial site in rural Wales where a patient suffered severe traumatic injuries to both legs and suffered life threatening blood loss. The individual was unconscious and had a cardiac arrest as the EMRTS crew arrived.
The medics were able to give a blood transfusion and also a blood product called Lyoplas, which helps with blood clotting. They also gave the patient an emergency anaesthetic to allow safe air transfer to a major trauma centre. These treatments are not possible in standard paramedic practice and the WAA was one of the first services in Europe to routinely carry four different types of blood products.
Dr Bob Tipping said: “Medically this was a very complex case but it was made all the more difficult by low cloud. The patient needed specialist treatment and, once stabilised, we started the journey to a major trauma centre in England on board the Wales Air Ambulance.
“Due to the poor weather conditions we were not able to complete the journey by air. Excellent communication skills between crews in the air and on the ground meant that we landed the aircraft at a safe location, about ten minutes away from the hospital, and transported the patient in a road ambulance.”
The patient needed numerous operations and is now recovering at home.
CCP Rhyan Curtain said: “The incident location and the severe nature of the patient’s injuries made this a particularly challenging case.
“The introduction of consultants and CCPs on board the Wales Air Ambulance has ensured that patients receive critical care interventions, which would usually only be possible to provide in a hospital environment, at the roadside, when they need it the most.
“This case demonstrates that a critical care team with advanced equipment and techniques in a well governed service can save lives.
“Without critical care interventions this patient would not have survived.”
Angela Hughes, WAA chief executive, said: “Despite the poor weather conditions, the Wales Air Ambulance was essential in delivering the advanced critical care team and specialised equipment to the patient within 30 minutes of the incident.
“It took approximately an hour to travel from the scene to the hospital, a journey that would have taken over two hours by road.”
Launched in April 2015, EMRTS Cymru, also known as the Welsh Flying Medics, joined WAA Charity helicopters to provide pioneering emergency medical care across Wales. The service, which effectively takes the emergency room to the patient, is made up of Welsh Government-funded NHS consultants and CCPs who are able to deliver innovative emergency treatments previously not available outside of a hospital environment.
The WAA Charity relies entirely on charitable donations to raise more than £6.5m each year to keep the helicopters flying for Wales.
For more information, visit www.walesairambulance.com.
"This case demonstrates that a critical care team with advanced equipment and techniques in a well governed service can save lives."
CCP Rhyan Curtain
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