Motorcycle-race doctor killed at Skerries 100
One of motor sports most experienced crash doctors has died following an accident at the Skerries 100 motorcycle races in north Dublin.
Tributes have flooded in for Irish road-racing doctor John Hinds, who died yesterday following a crash during practise on Friday evening.
Dr Hinds (35) was an intensive-care consultant and anaesthetist at Craigavon Hospital and attended people injured in the North West 200 earlier this year.
The experienced trauma specialist volunteered as a motorcycle-mounted medic, whose job it is to reach injured racers quickly in the event of an accident.
He is credited with saving the lives of a large number of cycle racers and became one of the sport's best known travelling medics.
He passed away yesterday at Beaumont Hospital.
It is understood the doctor was on a bike, behind the race riders as they navigated their way around the course just outside Skerries.
He received some treatment at the scene before he was rushed to hospital.
Under the race rules, doctors complete one circuit of the course on a motorcycle before the race begins. They then follow behind the riders for the opening lap before the race gets properly underway.
Dr Hinds was a native of Tandragee and was a passionate advocate for greater emergency services to be allocated to one of the world's most dangerous sports. He was also a passionate motorcyclist himself.
Just last month, in an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Dr Hinds said emergency air-ambulance services were desperately needed for the sport in his native Northern Ireland.
Dr Hinds said if a victim has to be taken by air to hospital, medical staff must wait for a helicopter to be made available by the PSNI or the Scottish or Irish Coastguard service.
"And that helicopter borrowed is only a means of transporting the patient to hospital. It doesn't have the specialist crew and equipment on board that air ambulances everywhere else have," he said.
"It is a totally unacceptable situation. For those of us involved in trauma care, it is very frustrating. We have effectively a third-world system operating here.
"In Manchester, Leeds, London, Scotland, Wales or the Irish Republic, if someone is critically injured, there is an air-ambulance team ready to be dispatched. In Northern Ireland, victims are often just driven to the nearest small hospital by ambulance."
Top British female racer, Maria Costello, said: "I am devastated to hear the news about Dr John Hinds. A true gentleman. Amazing and talented, who gave so much to this sport and saved so many lives. An unsung hero.
"The sport won't be the same without him. I will never forget the times I received his care. My deepest condolences go to his family, my thoughts go out to you. RIP."