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Rescues Peak for Cornwall's Air Ambulance

Cornwall Air Ambulance

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 5:48pm 6th August 2014 (Updated 11:11am 13th August 2014)


There have been seven rescues in just one day for Cornwall's Air Ambulance.

The chopper had its busiest day of the year so far on Monday, flying on missions from Lands End to Bude.

That included head injuries, stroke patients and people with breathing difficulties.

Bosses say call outs jump over the summer and they expect a lot more.

Aircrew Paramedic Stuart Croft said: "Yesterday was a busy day for Cornwall Air Ambulance, but was by no means exceptional. We often see a spike in rescue missions during the summer; the result of an increased population, congested roads and people enjoying the outdoors.

"The missions we flew yesterday demonstrated why Cornwall Air Ambulance is an essential service. We were tasked to patients suffering life-threatening medical conditions or trauma injuries, where minutes really did count, and also to patients in remote parts of the county where it would have been impossible to get them to hospital rapidly by any other means."

The helicopter, crewed by Paramedics Amy Sainsbury and Stuart Croft and pilot, Captain Craig Webster, was first tasked to an elderly male patient suffering severe breathing difficulties in the Camel Estuary area.

The patient was transported to the Community Landing Site at the Royal Cornwall Showground by land ambulance and then transferred to the air ambulance for rapid onward transfer to Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske, bypassing congestion on the county's roads.

Immediately following this mission the crew were called to a male patient near Land's End suffering serious chest pains. On arrival it was evident the man had suffered a Stroke and he was immediately transferred to Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske.

Paramedic Stuart Croft commented: "With a Stroke patient, time really is critical. If a patient can access specialist hospital treatment within an hour, their long term prognosis can be significantly improved. From this patient's location in the far west of Cornwall, the only way to get him to hospital in this time frame was by air.

"The ability of the helicopter to reach patients in remote locations came into play again with our next mission, where we were tasked to an elderly female patient on the Roseland Peninsula who had suffered a severe head trauma in a fall."

Due to the severity of the lady's injuries it was decided she should be taken straight to the Major Trauma Centre at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, bypassing the closest Emergency Department at Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske.

Stuart explained: "If we can get a patient to a specialist hospital within 45 minutes we are able to bypass closer hospitals in order to get them to the best possible treatment centre. For many parts of Cornwall the air ambulance is the only way of getting a patient to the Major Trauma Centre within 45 minutes.

Following this incident the crew were tasked to an incident at Gorran Haven, where a patient had a suspected bleed on the brain, and a mission in St Austell where a patient had suffered burns in a bonfire accident.

The crew were called to another patient in a difficult to access location shortly before 3pm, where an elderly patient had fallen on the coastpath at Sandymouth Bay near Bude. RNLI Lifeguards reported a suspected pelvic injury and due to the location the Cornwall Air Ambulance was tasked.  

Crews attended to the patient on-scene and he was transported to hospital by land ambulance as the air ambulance was called to the Camelford area, where a high-risk heart patient was suffering chest pains. The patient was flown to the cardiac unit at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth - a journey that would have taken at least an hour by road but took just 20 minutes by air.

Paramedic Stuart Croft commented: "The missions we flew yesterday are just the sorts of incidents the Cornwall Air Ambulance is here to assist with.

"It's important to note the great teamwork involved, though. The past few days have demonstrated the value of Cornwall's rescue services - including our land ambulance colleagues, Coastguard, Lifeguards and other emergency services - working together to bring about the best possible outcome for patients."

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