Thursday, 26 February 2009

We did enough to save his life

was the conclusion of how we treated last nights severely injured casualty.

We launched at 7pm tasked to conduct a search from Ballard Point to the Grand hotel looking for a man who had apparently fallen down the cliff. The ILB started at the Grand and the ALB at Ballard point, conditions at the base of the cliff were slight so our search was good and close to the shore and in short order the ILB spotted our man. 2 crewmen were put ashore (Matt and Oli) so as to assess his injuries and stabilise him ready for evacuation. It quickly became apparent that his injuries were extensive (large open leg fracture, open arm fracture, spinal injury and extensive abdominal bruising) and his condition deteriorating rapidly.

2 further men were sent ashore form the ALB via the ILB with stretcher, oxygen and large first aid kit. Once a collar was put on he was transferred to the basket stretcher and brought out to the ALB for transfer back to the slipway to meet the ambulance. The transfer went smoothly and he was soon in the wheelhouse having his wounds dressed and immobilised.

Meanwhile, in a dramatic twist, Martin (Coxswain) began to complain of feeling unwell. Within a few short minutes his condition deteriorated to the point where we realised it might be something more than originally thought. Chad and I joined later by Kev attended to him. It quickly became obvious that he was suffering from some sort of non-traumatic chest condition (heart attack) so we treated what we saw (clammy forehead, severe vice like chest-pain, sat in a 'W' position, unresponsive and shallow breathing) by first of all running through an AMPLE assessment then giving GTN spray, an asprin and free-flow oxygen. It would be an exaggeration to say that he recovered but his deterioration was certainly halted. Thank goodness!

Once we returned to the slipway, both casualties were handed over to Dorset Ambulance staff and after re-housing both boats and stowing kit we headed up into the crewroom for a de-brief at the hands of Paul Savage and the new RNLI First Aid trainer - Vicky Tomalin.

Overall their observations were very positive and they were of the conclusion that we had achieved what we set out to life. A good exercise.

having a few photo issues which I will try and rectify later on


Unknown said...

Sounds like a good job well done. Would Paul Savage normally come out to debrief a crew? Or is it just because you're close to HQ & you've been the Guinea Pigs for his First Aid course?

lifeboatjohn said...

No he wouldn't.

Paul comes across frequently when we have medexs but more as a friend of the crew than as an employee of the RNLI.

Of course he has a particular interest in how much knowledge and skills we are able to retain and what the level of skill fade is after his course.

never the less, it is great for us to have him and it certainly makes our medical exercises more realistic and effective.


Anonymous said...

Dear all,

As per usual with Swanage, a great job well done. Last nights patient would have tested experienced ambulance crew, and all involved did really well.

Dan - John is spot on. But as well as keeping an eye on my "guinea pigs's skill fade" as it is now 14 months plus since they were all trained, it was a chance to get a brand new trainer out to sea on a lifeboat for the first time. It is vital to have experienced what it is like on a lifeboat if you are going to teach crews, and the guys at Swanage are kind enough to run new instructors out - so a medex as a trade seems only fair!

Goosey said...

Fantastic job, well done. A bit of a shock I imagine to have to treat one of your own team as well. Trust both casualties are recovering well now.

Mart said...

Good job well done to you all.

Hope both casualties make a good recovery

Thoughts with Martin and you all :o)

lifeboatjohn said... guys have spotted that it was an exercise last night haven't you?! As in...Martin is fine!

Thanks for your thoughts and comments as ever.


Anonymous said...

In the 1987 Hurricane the Dover Acting Coxswain, (2nd Coxswain/Mechanic) Roy Couzens took the boat out to the MV Sumnia. After coming in to land survivors he had a Heart Attack whilst continuing the search for two men still missing.

He tried to insist that the boat stay out under the command of the Acting 2nd Coxswain but he was just to ill and had to be landed (after loosing conciousness). He survived to receive his Silver Medal but wasn't passed fit to return to the crew. He's now a DLA at Dover. (Story from info on the Dover Lifeboat website).

So the scenario was unfortunately all to realistic.

lifeboatjohn said...

Thanks for that Rick. I remember the story well. However, the fact that it has happened it in the past makes it all the more important that we train for these things.

It really was an excellent exercise.