The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) could be about to blaze a new trail in treating some of the most seriously injured patients, thanks to a cross-Atlantic partnership.
Techniques and equipment being developed in the US are set to be trialled by the charity, which has bases in the North East and Cumbria, after a fact-finding mission by aircrew doctor Simon Le Clerc yielded positive results.
Dr Le Clerc, a consultant in emergency medicine, spent several weeks visiting hospitals and air ambulances in the US to look at ways to deal with non-compressible torso bleeding when in the pre-hospital environment.
Most common in road traffic incidents and bad falls, this type of bleeding is notoriously difficult to treat effectively before the patient gets into hospital.
But that could all be about to change, with various techniques being identified that could have a significant impact across the GNAAS area, which ranges from North Yorkshire to the Scottish Borders, east coast to west.
The precise nature of the treatments are not yet being revealed, but Dr Le Clerc said they involved stemming the flow of blood within the torso.
Dr Le Clerc, whose visit to the states was sponsored by the William Churchill Memorial Foundation, said: “We’ve identified a number of techniques and pieces of equipment that are making waves in the US and the Great North Air Ambulance Service is looking to bring them onto British shores for the first time.
“Patients in this category are always in a critical condition. These developments give us the opportunity to stabilise them and to get them into hospital alive and ready for ongoing treatment.”