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MARS blog - A View From The Roadside

The start of 2009 saw the ambulance service at near crisis point with a huge surge in demand over recent weeks.  Coupled with this, our dispatch has been a bit variable as the recent closure of the Hereford & Worcester control room has meant that local ambulance resources and MARS responders have been tasked from Dudley.  Fortunately, many of the old faces have moved to the new control desk, but it’s bound to take a while for things to reach any state of normality.  Call rates have followed odder patterns than normal, with an increase in calls to medical conditions, in December in particular, and the perennial concern that we might be missing important jobs if staff are overloaded with tasking 'routine' assets or getting used to the new system.  It’s too early to tell whether this has been the case or not, but the control room staff are doing a great job in very difficult circumstances.

In January, the pattern seemed to pan out a bit - mainly trauma related calls, with a focus on road traffic collisions (RTCs).  After some time away until the 5th Jan, my first call came on the 10th to a farm worker trapped under a tree trunk which had rolled onto him while he was cutting it into pieces with a chainsaw.  Most of these 'chainsaw incidents'  I’ve been to before involve major haemorrhage but, thankfully, the chainsaw itself was incidental in this case and he got away with fairly minor injuries instead from the blunt impact of the tree on his legs.

I attended 5 RTCs in January.   One was car-vs-bus and one was car-vs-tractor (fairly common in Herefordshire).  Fortunately most involved minor injuries but I did fly with one patient with a suspected pelvic fracture to Hereford County Hospital.  The biggest challenge is often finding someone to drive my car to the hospital as I abandon it to jump on the air ambulance.  As usual, the Police kindly obliged.

The roads in January seemed particularly cold, muddy and slippery with hints of black ice lying unexpectedly on many of the back roads.

Of the medical cases I attended in January, two were to cardiac arrests.  Unfortunately we didn’t manage to resuscitate either patient successfully.

  • Total cases this month: 10
  • 'Stood down' en route (ie. I was not required, so attendance cancelled): 1  
  • Number of RTCs: 5
  • Total miles driven to incidents on blue lights: 90
  • Time spent on MARS incidents (doesn’t include other MARS activity such as training, equipment checking, re-stocking, fundraising, etc): 9hrs 48mins