Critical Care Doctors faced with gruesome casualty scenes

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue's Brisbane base was a chaotic trauma scene this morning, with bloody and injured "patients", needing urgent medical care, scattered throughout the hangar.

In the mock training scenario, LifeFlight's Critical Care Doctors, Nurses and Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) Critical Care Paramedics were called to an incident, in the Gold Coast hinterland, where a group of people had been mowed down by a drunk driver.

"One of the challenges, at something like this, is our medical teams don't know what they're responding to," LifeFlight Brisbane's Clinical Lead, Dr Andrew Donohue, said.

"We know there's likely to be a number of badly injured patients and the injuries could be anything, it could range from minor, or nothing, to critically injured and dying patients, that they need to be able to treat." 

Student doctors and paramedics volunteered their time to act as victims, relatives and distractors.

"They're all things that really happen, and people first responders will encounter, at situations like this," Dr Donohue said.

LifeFlight's Critical Care Doctors undergo this type of training every six months, but the scenario is quite uncommon. 

Aeromedical crews may only be faced by a similar, real situation every few years.

"For them to come and practice it today and to learn how to respond is really important.

"Part of it is to let them experience this first and then be able to respond more naturally when they go to a real situation," said Dr Donohue

LifeFlight recruits some of the most highly-skilled doctors from around the world and within Australia.

The hand-picked few then undergo rigorous - and constant - training, to work on board the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters in Brisbane, Toowoomba and on the Sunshine Coast.

2018 was a record year for LifeFlight for lifesaving missions with its aeromedical crews, community helicopters and Air Ambulance jets performing a record 5,724 missions throughout Queensland and around the world.

LifeFlight is a community-based charity funded and supported by the LifeFlight Foundation

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