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How a call “should” happen in a Medical Emergency

January 19, 2012

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The Ideal situation in a Medical Emergency 

With adrenaline flowing and trauma kicking-in, time always seems to slow down and things seem to take forever…unfortunately these days things do seem to take longer then they suppose to. We are often asked the question of how quick Medical crews should be on the scene and what the procedure is.

This is purely a guide line to give you an idea, EVERY incident will be different due to the area, the availability of Medical crews, traffic and the condition of the patient. 

2-5 Minutes ——An accident or incident is reported to the call centre

5-10 Minutes —-An ambulance and paramedic response vehicle dispatched to the scene

5-10 Minutes—–The medical crew assess, and initiate treatment and decide on appropriate form of transport          for the patient’s condition or injuries

5-10 Minutes—–If required a helicopter is dispatched to the scene

The helicopter medical crew reassess and further stabilise the patient and decide on an appropriate receiving facility

The patient is flown from the scene directly to the door of the nearest and the most appropriate receiving facility

The patient’s condition as well as all the treatment carried out is handed minutes over from the helicopter crew to the receiving doctor

Patients who do not need to be flown and do not meet flight criteria, will be transported by ambulance to the receiving facility.

Medical Flight Criteria

  • Severe penetrating trauma to the head, neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis
  • Blunt trauma to the chest, abdomen or pelvis with a high index of suspicion for major internal bleeding
  • Threatened limbs or proximal long bone amputations
  • Spinal injury with neurological deficit
  • Head injury with a GCS of no less than 6/15
  • Stroke patients requiring rapid access to a stroke centre
  • Compromised cardiac patients with a time to hospital exceeding 30 minutes
  • Acute anaphylaxis with airway compromise or no availability of ALS
  • Hypothermia – core temperature less than 35 ̊C
  • Hyperthermia – core temperature greater than 40 ̊C
  • Burns: Facial burns with inhalation injury
  •  Children with greater than 20% BSA injury
  • Adults with greater than 30% BSA injury
  • Haemodynamically unstable patient despite intervention or with no availability of ALS
  • Respiratory difficulties despite intervention or with no availability of ALS
  • Where specialist medical expertise of the flight crew is required
  • Near-drowning
  • Electrocution
  • Long bone fractures, including neck of femur with prolonged time to hospital
  • Hip dislocations due to severe trauma
  • Prolonged entrapment (or predicted >45 minutes)
  • Severe mechanism of injury with time to appropriate facility exceeding 30 minutesLogistical Guideline
  • Where access to the scene by road is limited or time delay to definitive care is deemed to be detrimental in light of the presenting medical condition / injury
  • Major incidents where resources are limited and additional resources are urgently required
        “Time saves lives, Helivac saves Both”
         Visit for more information 
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