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Dr Richard Fawcett and Pre-Hospital Care

Dr Richard Fawcett

For the past 8 years I have had the privilege of working for Midlands Air Ambulance (MAA) as a HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services) doctor. This means I get to wear a big red jump-suit and fly round the region responding to some pretty extreme cases of human suffering (normally following a serious accident or medical event).

Coming from an emergency medicine background this has helped me deal with those critical patients before they reach the emergency department. Bringing elements of the emergency department to the patient in their hour of need and offering them advanced resuscitation at the road side, can increase their chances of survival and hopefully reduce their suffering.

The HEMS team usually comprises of three people including a highly skilled pilot, an up-skilled paramedic known as a critical care paramedic and a HEMS doctor (normally from an emergency medicine or anaesthetic background.

As a team we carry all the lifesaving equipment normally carried by a land ambulance plus a extra kit including blood, ultra sound, surgical kit and the ability to put a patient into a medically induced coma and manage them like an intensive care patient. We also get to turn up in a helicopter which speeds up the time it takes to get a team to the patient and then the time it takes for the patient to get to hospital. Royal Stoke is fortunate to have several of its consultants who work as part of a HEMS team which improves the working relationship between the hospital and the ambulance service which in turn improves the care given to the patients.