“I have been privileged to be a Consultant working in both Pre-Hospital and Hospital Care for over 30 years and have witnessed some remarkable life-saving in both settings.
During this time Paramedic practice has evolved with the welcome development of Critical Care Paramedics and specialist HART teams. In addition, Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) now cover most of the UK and increasingly are manned by an appropriately trained doctor and critical care trained paramedic with the capability of delivering the most advanced life-saving skills. The new medical subspecialty of Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine which is now multidisciplinary, further adds to the clinical capability both in care at the scene and in transfer to hospital.
All this said, many patients would not be alive if it were not for the action of the general public in those crucial first minutes following an accident, prior to the arrival of the emergency services. I know that simple actions, for example to open a patient’s airway or to arrest haemorrhage, have been life-saving.
In the course of the last 15 years I have been the civilian lead for the care of injured soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. Camp Bastion Hospital was the world’s leading trauma hospital and has been responsible for remarkable advances in clinical care, including resuscitation and surgery, where many of these advances have now been transferred into civilian practice, with several hundred unexpected survivors and most making a high quality recovery.
It must be remembered that in many cases patients only survive to reach hospital alive due to the immediate self-help or buddy-help given by colleagues. The value of a simple education programme, familiarisation with these skills and the provision of equipment has been a critical turning point in saving lives for patients particularly with traumatic amputations that risk exanguinating blood loss.
In the contemporary world with marauding shooters, multiple stab victims and bombings, the emergency services will not be on the scene to help the injured until the scene is secure and safe. For these reasons there is an imperative to empower the general public to deliver these simple life-saving techniques.
citizenAID in either format, the app or on paper, provides those logical advisory sequences and skills necessary to save lives with an emphasis throughout on personal safety.
Whilst formal training in first aid is desirable, citizenAID provides those skills to the frequently untrained and can expand the skill base of the trained first aider, embracing the different priorities and using techniques not usually part of routine first aid. I hope a critical mass of the general public will become trained in the CitizenAID concept so that in the unlikely event that they are involved in an incident, they are able to deliver life-saving skills when safe to do so.“