Emergency response charity LIVES has launched a Critical Care Car to reach more critically ill patients living in Lincolnshire’s coastal towns.
The distinctive navy and yellow Volvo XC90, which uses the callsign ‘Medic 50’, is equipped with life-saving medical devices, equipment and advanced medicines to treat patients in cardiac arrest and patients involved in major trauma such as road traffic collision or serious assault. The equipment carried includes a ventilator, automatic chest compression machine, infusion pumps, beat-to-beat blood pressure monitoring and specialist freeze dried blood products.
LIVES Critical Care Doctor, Halden Hutchison-Bazely, has led the project for the charity. He said: “Our Critical Care Car is capable of mobilizing highly specialized critical care in a heartbeat, in all weathers, day and night. On board is both the high-level expertise and the equipment to be able to act fast and save lives when patients are suffering from the most life-threatening of illnesses or injuries.
“For some patients, receiving critical care before they get to hospital is essential for their survival. Our team can anaesthetize patients, do immediate result blood tests and scans to guide treatment, transfuse blood products and perform life-saving surgical procedures at the scene. These interventions will help to improve survival during a time when patients need it most.”
The LIVES Critical Care Car, manned by a team of highly qualified volunteer Doctors, Paramedics and Nurses, will be based on the East Coast of Lincolnshire, up to four nights a week.
Medics from the charity have been responding to critical care calls across the county and have been dispatched to over 700 emergencies this year. Data collected by the charity shows that there is a significant need to provide extended cover in Lincolnshire’s coastal towns, which are typically located over one hour away from the nearest Major Trauma Centre.
In August alone, LIVES Critical Care Doctors, Paramedics and Nurses responded to 84 potentially life-threatening emergency calls. Thirty-six of these were medical emergencies, 33 were road traffic collisions, 14 were patients in cardiac arrest, and one was a childbirth.
Nikki Cooke, CEO at LIVES, said: “Critical injury can strike at any minute, in any location, without any warning. When you’re a long way from hospital, it’s the life-saving treatments that our medics can provide before and during a patient’s journey to hospital that can make a real difference to their outcome.
“All of the medics on board our Critical Care Car are volunteers. They give their time to ensure that they’re able to get to those patients who need them, delivering vital care as quickly as possible. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to provide this life-saving service to residents and visitors along the Lincolnshire coast.”
LIVES’ Critical Care Car was made possible following additional fundraising support and a £35,000 grant received from the British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS). The grant comes as part of an annual donation to BASICS by the County Air Ambulance HELP Appeal.
Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the County Air Ambulance HELP Appeal, said: “These volunteers are the unsung heroes of emergency care – giving up their free time to support their local ambulance service. This donation will ensure they have the highest standard of transport at their disposal to ensure they can treat patients quickly and safely, giving them the best possible chance of survival and recovery.”
The LIVES Critical Care Car is a volunteer-led service, which is only made possible thanks to the dedication of extraordinary medical professionals. The charity relies on donations to help keep this service running. To donate, visit www.LIVES.org.uk/donate.