New RACQ LifeFlight doctors on board to save lives

New RACQ LifeFlight doctors on board to save lives

16-Feb-2023 Source: RACQ LifeFlight

Thirty new RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Critical Care Doctors have joined the ranks at aeromedical bases across the state, excited to kickstart a career in saving lives in the sky.

The new registrars have come from far and wide, with some travelling from overseas to join LifeFlight’s crucial aeromedical service, while others jumped at the chance to help their own regional Queensland communities.

Doctor Hamish Brown is one of four highly-skilled doctors thrilled to be making a difference to their community, by joining the Sunshine Coast base.

Dr Brown has lived in Australia for about eight years and is looking forward to taking his first step into aeromedical work.

“I’ve only ever done emergency medicine in the hospital, so I actually relished the opportunity to do pre-hospital medicine,” said Dr Brown

“Flying in the helicopters, working in this region of the world, and being part of this team just really excited me, so I just jumped at the opportunity.”

Joining the Toowoomba base, Dr Neil Hunter said a job with a RACQ LifeFlight Rescue aeromedical team was a dream come true.

“I think the comradery amongst a small team is the best part of the job,” Dr Hunter said.

“Then the excitement obviously of getting to fly around in a helicopter, seeing parts of Queensland that I’ve never really seen before, and really just helping the local communities out there that are much less served by medical specialists.”

Before taking to the rescue chopper, the doctors underwent thorough pre-hospital and retrieval clinical skills training at LifeFlight Training Academy.

The world-class aeromedical training requires RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Critical Care Doctors to learn helicopter winching techniques and complete the Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET).

LifeFlight’s Chief Aircrew Officer Simon Gray said the winch training gives doctors the skills to treat patients in difficult-to-access terrain.

“This training is the most important thing that they do,” Mr Gray said.

“They already know how to provide critical care as doctors, but the things we’ve taught them in aviation training are new to them,” he said.

“At the end of the day, we need to be able to put these doctors in a variety of situations to help a patient, and winching them is just another technique that we have – especially if someone is injured and there is no vehicle access.”

“They may do this on their very first shift, they may not do one at all, but we have to be prepared.”

LifeFlight HUET Manager Mick Dowling said the HUET aspect of training fully readies doctors for the extremely unlikely event of a helicopter crash.

“If that helicopter is landing on the water, it is going to roll over and sink,” Mr Dowling said.

“The skills that we teach the guys in our dunkers allows us to teach them the skills to stay orientated so they can locate exits, operate seatbelts and then find their way out in a very easy manner.”

The new LifeFlight RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Critical Care Doctors also put their clinical skills to the test, participating in high-pressure scenarios at the Queensland Combined Emergency Services Academy at Whyte Island, in Brisbane.

The scenarios simulate some of the most extreme situations the doctors may face, including a multi- vehicle crash, a pool party with a drowning child, and even a ship disaster.

The majority of doctors will work on board RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters and Air Ambulance jets across Queensland, while others will be assigned to other aeromedical services.

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