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Air ambulance crew and police combine forces in night-time rescue

Filed under: Air Ambulance Use Stories — Posted by: Mark on December 28, 2011

A recent emergency medical evacuation from Dartmoor in the South West of England saw an air ambulance paramedic and police helicopter crew work together to rescue an injured man.

The 54-year old man had collapsed whilst out walking with friends, prompting a call to be made to the local air ambulance service. However, due to the time of the call being placed, after sunset, the service was unable to respond.

A call was subsequently put out to the local police force, who have a helicopter equipped with night vision goggles for the crew, as well as an under-slung thermal imaging camera on the aircraft itself.

The air ambulance paramedic joined the police crew, whilst radio communication channels were opened between the helicopter, and police and ambulance operations centres. Due to the location of the rescue, it was also necessary to open communications directly with the victim’s friends on the ground and the crew in the aircraft.

Despite the teamwork, the rescue still proved immensely difficult. In the end however, the helicopter crew managed to land within just a few feet of the victim, and the air ambulance paramedic managed to administer emergency aid on site.

Having been stabilised, the patient was airlifted to a local hospital in the town of Exeter, where he is currently undergoing treatment for hypothermia.

Although the operation was a success, the incident highlights that much improvement and investment could still be used with emergency medical air services.

Largely funded by donations from the public and local business, the equipment to enable night flights is usually an expense which simply cannot be afforded.

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