LifeFlight rescue mission through a doctor's eyes
THE clock is always ticking for LifeFlight doctor Martin Londahl.
When stepping off the chopper on a mission, 30minutes is often all that stands between life and death - a parameter on full display last Thursday night when Dr Londahl's aeromedical crew was called to treat a man involved in a serious motorcycle crash south of Chinchilla.
"He was in a much better condition than we feared,” Dr Londahl said.
The man, aged in his 50s, was believed to be wearing an open-faced helmet when he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed into shrubs on MontroseRd, Montrose.
Reportedly trapped under his crashed bike for several hours, the man, who had sustained trauma to the face and a serious leg injury, told rescuers he couldn't reach his mobile phone initially before finally being able to grab a hold and ring 000 for help.
Queensland Ambulance Service paramedics treated the man at the scene before transporting him to Tara Sports Field to await the arrival of the rescue helicopter travelling from its Toowoomba base.
"Initially when the pilot gets the call, they don't tell him what it is, they just tell him where the mission is and how urgent it is,” DrLondahl explained.
"If it's possible, that's when I go get any drugs ... some blood that's in our fridge, get my helmet and get in the helicopter.”
Dr Londahl said he only learned the details of the job in the brief moments before take-off.
"They didn't know much at the time, just that it was a motorcycle accident and there were serious injuries,” he said.
"We always try to have an on-scene time of 30minutes ... and in order to accomplish that we really want to hit the ground running, so we try to work out a really good plan beforehand.
"We go through different scenarios so that we don't have to do a lot of thinking on the ground and can just get to the practicalities.”
It was a plan that proved successful, with the crew able to have the man on board the helicopter in just 27 minutes.
"We kept our contract,” Dr Londahl said.
"The paramedic had done a really good job and the patient was really, really lucky. It could have been a lot worse.”
The LifeFlight crew transported the man to the emergency department of Toowoomba Hospital and 15minutes later were tasked with another mission.
"It's part of the job, the high pressure,” Dr Londahl said of the role he has been doing for four months.
"Back home in Sweden I worked in anaesthesia and ICU ... so it's really interesting to take the same skill set and apply it in a very different situation.
"The highlights are in the missions where I bring home a patient knowing that if we didn't get this patient in with the helicopter, he would really, really suffer and lose life or limb.
"It's really nice to see LifeFlight really makes a difference - not always, but at times it really does.”