Photo: Consultants, doctors and clinicians pictured at the Blood Symposium
Consultants, doctors and clinicians attended a blood symposium at the Holiday Inn in Gatwick last week (22nd January). The medical conference was organised by Dr Duncan Bootland and Emily McWhirter from the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance who early last year became the second air ambulance service in the country to carry blood.
The audience of more than 50 healthcare professionals was welcomed by Dr. Malcolm Russell MBE Medical Director of the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance. Presentations from eminent clinicians and international speakers were given by Dr James Manning Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of North Carolina; Lieutenant Colonel Chris Wright of the Royal Amy Medical Corps; Professor Karim Brohi, Professor of Trauma Sciences at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London; researcher Ms Claire O’Rourke; Dr Emrys Kirkman, Principle Scientist at the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down; Professor Roopen Ayra, Professor of Thrombosis and Haemostasis at Kings Thrombosis Centre; Dr Gareth Davies, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Medical Director of London Air Ambulance.
The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance started carrying blood and giving it to patients suffering from excessive blood loss last February, benefiting about seven patients a month. The service which is a registered charity is now looking at the next step in the use of blood products and how stemming the loss of blood to a group of patients suffering serious injuries can help to save lives.
Dr Bootland said: ‘'Haemorrhage (bleeding) from traumatic injuries is a major cause of death and disability. In our work with Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance we are called to a number of these patients and we know that our ability to stabilise and manage their bleeding will have a significant impact on how they recover. As one of the first air ambulance services in the country to routinely carry blood to transfuse to the patient at the scene of an accident, we have first hand experience of the difference this can make. However, there is increasing evidence that on top of needing blood, trauma patients need early replacement of their clotting factors to help stem the bleeding and that there are other interventions that are being trialled that may also help our patients . As part of our ongoing efforts to improve the care of patients in Kent, Surrey and Sussex we organised this one day event and invited clinicians and researchers with world class expertise in the management of the bleeding trauma patient to help guide us on how we further improve our care. The day was attended by not only the KSSAAT doctors and paramedics but also air ambulance staff from other regions, South East Coast Ambulance paramedics and hospital doctors and nurses from around the country.”
The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance flies two helicopters with specialist doctor and paramedic crews. Last year they became the first air ambulance service in the country to provide a 24-hour Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) operation.