Toowoomba's new LifeFlight Doctors Ready to Start Saving Lives

eight new high-tech mannequins


Triple M News Darling Downs

7 August 2019

Triple M News Darling Downs

Article heading image for Toowoomba's new LifeFlight Doctors Ready to Start Saving Lives

Image & Video: RACQ LifeFlight Rescue

The LifeFlight Retrieval Medicine recruits had to escape a mock underwater helicopter crash, be winched into a chopper and respond to high pressure scenarios, in preparation for working in the air and remote locations.

The doctors were the first to use eight new high-tech, interactive mannequins, which made the clinical skills training program, more realistic than ever.

Director of Training and Education Dr Jeff Hooper said some of the dummies are so advanced, it's almost lifelike.

"They can talk, they can make vomiting noises, they have a pulse and a blood pressure, they’ve got really good vital signs, you can see their heart rhythm, you can shock them and do all sorts of medical and trauma based care on them," Dr Hooper said. 

While LifeFlight's Critical Care Doctors have always undergone intensive training, this was the first time the clinical skills program had been run in-house, at the recently expanded LifeFlight Training Academy.

Doctor Luke De La Rue has moved from Melbourne, for the exciting opportunity to work on board the Toowoomba-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue chopper. 

"I've never been in a helicopter before and then you go through the training and realise the space is really limited and there's not a lot you can do in a helicopter, so it's a real additional challenge, on top of managing really unwell patients. It's a tough environment but that's what makes it exciting as well," Dr De La Rue said. 

LifeFlight's new Roaming Registrar, Dr Ola Sorensen has travelled from Sweden.

He will work at aeromedical helicopter bases through-out Queensland, including the Toowoomba RACQ LifeFlight Rescue base and said he is looking forward to the challenges of pre-hospital care. 

"In the hospital you can be very comfortable, everyone is serving you and you have access to all you need. In the air you don't have that, so I guess you have to plan a little bit more," Dr Sorensen said. 

 

Dr Ola Sorensen

The 28 new LifeFlight doctors starting work across Queensland, began their aviation training with a splash, at Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET).

To prepare recruits for the unlikely event of an aircraft crashing into water, they were strapped into a metal helicopter simulator and dunked into a pool, before having to safely find their way to the surface.

"This training is developed to give them the confidence to stay in a really good brace position, survive the impact and then stay orientated, to find those exits and get themselves out," HUET Manager Mick Dowling said.

The challenges continued over at LifeFlight’s Archerfield hangar, where doctors started getting used to life above ground, during winch training.

Chief Aircrew Officer Simon Gray said winching allows the doctors to be inserted into locations, which are otherwise difficult to access. 

"It's the first time that a lot of these people have seen a helicopter up close when it's operating, so there's a lot of noise, a lot of excitement," Mr Gray said. 

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