Our team of doctors and critical care practitioners (CCPs) means Wales Air Ambulance can provide even more treatments on helicopter missions.

The specially selected doctors have advanced expertise in emergency medicine, paediatrics, anaesthesia, and intensive care. With these extra skills, our crews carry pioneering equipment, including blood products.

Wales


BLOOD PRODUCTS

We became one of the first air ambulance teams in Europe to have three types of blood products at the scene of an emergency.

The charity’s helicopters now carry red blood cells, lyoplas and fibrinogen concentrate. These help to stop bleeding and replenish lost blood.

Flying medic Dr Dindi Gill said: “This life-saving technology is inspired by military medicine used in Afghanistan, where heavy blood loss through trauma needs to be urgently stemmed and replenished.

“We were one of the first civilian services in Europe to offer this treatment. Currently, some air ambulance services in the UK only carry red blood cells, the Wales Air Ambulance also carries lyoplas and fibrinogen concentrate, which aid the clotting process that prevents blood loss.”

Red blood cells: A fundamental part of the human circulatory system, red blood cells transport oxygen to bodily organs. Wales Air Ambulance carries O negative blood, which is compatible with all other blood groups.

Lyoplas: A freeze-dried derivative of plasma, a liquid component that makes up approximately 50 per cent of blood. When mixed with water, it can be used to help aid blood transfusions at the scene of an emergency.

Fibrinogen concentrate: A concentrated dose of fibrinogen, which helps aid the blood clotting process. As with Lyoplas and the red blood cells, the Fibrinogen concentrate is extracted from blood donated by members of the public. The blood is supplied by the Welsh Blood Service.

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EPOC BLOOD GAS MONITOR

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The EPOC blood gas monitor will allow the crews to carry out blood analysis that would otherwise only be available in hospitals.

By testing blood while working in the field, the air ambulance team can carry out blood analysis in around five minutes.

Dr Gill said: “Carrying out blood tests is something we’ll be doing on any unwell patient, and can help highlight or rule out a number of issues in a short period of time.

“It’s about helping us to understand a patient’s condition as quickly as possible. By carrying out blood testing at an earlier stage, we can determine a patient’s condition quicker and save time upon arrival in hospital.”

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ULTRASOUND SCANNER

Air ambulance medics are also equipped with ultrasound scanners, which help identify internal trauma to organs at an earlier stage.

The scanner can help identify internal bleeding and indicate the source of blood loss.

Dr Gill said: “As with the blood gas monitor, the ultrasound scanner helps us to identify issues at an earlier stage, and again save time on procedures when a patient is delivered to hospital.”

“As well as internal bleeding, the scanner can also help to identify trauma to organs, such as punctured lungs.”

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TEMPUS PRO MONITOR

Using technology developed for the maritime, exploration and military environments, the Tempus Pro monitor allows crews to wirelessly transmit diagnostic information, such as pulse, heart rate and oxygen levels.

This information is then picked up by a hospital or clinician at a separate location, which can provide advice and guidance if needed, or make preparations for an incoming critical patient.

Dr Gill said: “The Tempus monitor has also been used by the UK armed forces, and allows clinicians to remotely receive updates on a patient’s condition. They can then offer treatment advice, or prepare for their arrival at hospital.

“The monitors have built-in technology that enables the Wales Air Ambulance teams to become the first in Britain to administer emergency anaesthetics, and provide video feedback and monitoring to remotely based clinical teams.”

Wales


STATE OF THE ART VENTILATOR

The advanced technology ventilators that are being used by the critical care teams are designed to work on people of all ages, from infants through to elderly patients.

Dr Gill said: “The ventilators we used were the first of their kind in the UK, and help us to stabilise all patients before they are taken to the nearest appropriate hospital.”

Wales


RAPID RESPONSE VEHICLES

    

Through our partnership with NHS Wales, the medics have access to a fleet of Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs).

These are stationed throughout Wales, at each of the four Wales Air Ambulance bases. This will help the team respond to emergencies by road if necessary.

Five Audi Q7s have been converted into state-of-the-art emergency response vehicles designed to enable medics to reach the scene of a medical emergency as fast as possible.

Dr Gill said: “When the critical care teams are not flying, for example in foggy weather, the RRVs will be a vital part of responding to emergencies, equipped with state of the art technology. The crews’ kit is interchangeable between the aircraft and road vehicle.”