London’s Air Ambulance has been announced as the winner of the Emergency Services category at this year’s Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards. Our team was surprised with the news live on air whilst being interviewed on ITV’s This Morning. The full ceremony will be broadcast on ITV on 1st November at 8pm.
The medical team who worked on 24 year old cyclist Victoria won the award for its use of a pioneering balloon procedure – known as REBOA (Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta) – to prevent her from bleeding to death at the roadside. The prestigious prize also recognised the doctors at The Royal London Hospital, part of Barts Health NHS Trust, who spent two years developing the ground-breaking procedure which was then adapted to be taken out of hospital, a world first, and is helping to save lives across the capital.
Victoria was hit by a lorry while commuting to work. Her pelvis was so badly crushed, the medics treating her feared she would not survive.
Reflecting on Victoria’s accident Dr Samy Sadek said: “You want to save this girl’s life and you know that it can go wrong so easily. A millimetre of movement either way and all can be lost. It might be your only chance.”
The team which was presented with the This Morning Emergency Services award – Dr Simon Walsh, Dr Samy Sadek and paramedics Bill Leaning, Sam Margetts and Dean Bateman – performed REBOA on scene, inserting a balloon into her major blood vessel and inflating it to cut off the blood supply to her pelvis and legs, giving the team time to get her to hospital where she could be operated on.
It was only the second time the REBOA procedure had been carried out on the roadside and Victoria was the second patient to survive it.
It has been the culmination of several years of hard work by a variety of teams and individuals including The Royal London Hospital Emergency Department, interventional radiologists, trauma surgeons and anaesthetists, as well as paramedics from London Ambulance Service .
Commenting on the win, Dr Gareth Davies, Medical Director for London’s Air Ambulance, said
“It is a huge honour to receive this award which recognises the successful development and delivery of REBOA outside the hospital. London’s Air Ambulance medics were the first in the world to use REBOA at the roadside. Being able to manage blood loss at the scene means we can reduce the number of people who die before they even get to hospital.”
Dr Simon Walsh and paramedic Bill Leaning from London’s Air Ambulance first arrived at the scene of Victoria’s accident in a rapid response car. They found a tyre imprint across Victoria’s pelvis where she had been run over by the lorry. Her legs were tangled and distorted and she had only minutes to live. The helicopter arrived soon after, carrying the REBOA equipment, blood and another advanced trauma team consisting of Dr Samy Sadek and paramedics Sam Margetts and Dean Bateman.
Once the balloon was in place, Victoria’s condition immediately improved. She was transferred to The Royal London Hospital where she needed 12 further operations.
She lost her left leg but is regaining her strength and fitness, has returned to work and is planning to cycle again.
REBOA is most frequently used for traffic collisions when a patient’s blood vessels are so badly damaged that it is difficult to stop internal bleeding. A thin plastic tube with a balloon at the end is fed through an artery in the leg and pushed into the aorta to below the heart. The balloon is then inflated to cut off the blood supply to the damaged vessels and prevent the patient from bleeding to death.
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