independent

Monday 27 January 2020

Rapid Response answered 163 call-outs in 2019

Dr David Mendez of WRR demonstrating a blood transfusion with Andy O’Toole of the NAS, mountain rescue volunteer Paul Butcher and Blood Bikes volunteer Michael Noonan at the Save a Life Day at Sinnott Autos in Wicklow town last year
Dr David Mendez of WRR demonstrating a blood transfusion with Andy O’Toole of the NAS, mountain rescue volunteer Paul Butcher and Blood Bikes volunteer Michael Noonan at the Save a Life Day at Sinnott Autos in Wicklow town last year

Wicklow Rapid Response (WRR) responded to over 160 emergency calls in 2019.

The voluntary pre-hospital critical care service had 163 callouts last year at the request of the National Ambulance Service (NAS). These included 23 road traffic collisons, three multiple casualty incidents, 24 paediatric cases and 34 cardiac arrests, of which eight survived to hospital discharge with a complete recovery.

In addition to responding rapidly due to being available in the community, the WWRR doctor can also bring specialist skills and treatments to the patient.

This year, these included: six general anaesthetics (inducing a medical coma to place a patient on life support to protect their airway in cases of severe head injury or where a patient is deeply unconscious); 16 patients discharged at scene (avoiding the need to transport to the Emergency Department, thus freeing up ambulance resources and Emergency Department capacity), and two pre-hospital blood/plasma transfusions. WRR is the only pre-hospital service carrying blood and plasma for emergency pre-hospital transfusion in the case of life threatening haemorrhage.

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WRR Chairman Colm Dempsey said: 'Bringing the hospital to the patient is what Wicklow Rapid Response is all about. Wicklow Rapid Response does not work in isolation. The positive outcomes above are due to a coordinated multi-disciplinary response starting with the emergency call-taker in the NAS Emergency Operations Centre and including the emergency dispatchers, community first responders, off duty responders, NAS, the Fire Service, the Irish Coast Guard, Dublin amd Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team, Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue Team and many others.

'Not withstanding this, there are people alive and well today due to the treatment provided by the specialist Pre Hospital Emergency Medicine level of care Wicklow Rapid Response has provided.'

A voluntary organisation, WRR aims to provide near intensive critical care level treatment for local communities, where there are life-threatening circumstances. The volunteer emergency medical doctor, who specialises in pre hospital emergency medicine, is called simultaneously with the ambulance, when a serious emergency such as a cardiac arrest or major trauma occurs.

WRR is now also supporting five National Ambulance Service Paramedics and Advanced Paramedics with defibrillators to respond voluntarily to emergencies in their community when off-duty. This further strengthens the chain of survival for out of hospital cardiac arrest in Co Wicklow and its surrounds.

Wicklow Rapid Response receives no statutory funding and is completely dependant on donations to support the service. For information, visit www.wwrr.ie.

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