Flying medics who can save lives on the spot
Thursday 10 February 1994
Life and death decisions are commonplace for Greater London's Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, which attends an average of four 'trauma' incidents a day. In almost every case, the patient's life is in immediate danger.
A spokesman for the London Ambulance Service said that while open-heart surgery was rarely performed by the team, this was not the first time it had taken place.
'It is sad this patient did not survive but without the helicopter ambulance I am sure he would not have made it to hospital,' he said. 'The team, which always includes a qualified doctor and a paramedic, can do just about anything. The helicopter is like a mini-hospital.'
Yesterday's open-heart procedure involved the doctor opening up the police officer's chest wide enough to perform manual heart massage. A temporary repair was then made and a blood transfusion given. Treatment continued inside the helicopter but the police officer failed to respond on arrival at hospital.
A visit from the orange helicopter is now commonly referred to in the ambulance service as being 'tangoed'. The helicopter doctors boast they can reach any spot on the M25, London's ringroad, in under 10 minutes. 'In heavy traffic it can take an ambulance 40 minutes to reach some parts of the M25,' the ambulance service spokesman said.
The helicopter needs 25sq ft to land and since the service was launched in 1991 it has landed in Trafalgar Square and stopped the traffic in Oxford Circus. The service, based at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, costs pounds 1,000 an hour.
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 3 Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders
- 5 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
New York snow: Winter Storm Juno downgraded as 'one of the largest snowstorms in history' fails to show
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...
£13000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A chance to work for an extreme...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Are you a breath of fresh air? This vibrant bo...
£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...