Brighton A&E team saves mother who was dragged 15ft by a car

Posted On 05 Nov 2010 at 7:24 pm

Health chief Duncan Selbie has given a dramatic insight into the work of the accident and emergency department at Brighton’s biggest hospital.

In an email to staff the chief executive of the trust that runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital described how a medical team saved the life of a mother who was hit by a car.

Mr Selbie said that the 30-year-old woman suffered multiple injuries after she was hit and dragged more than 15ft by the car.

He said: “Our A&E consultant Rowley Cottingham was on the scene early as part of the South Coast Immediate Care Scheme (SIMCAS).

“Working with paramedics from Southeast Coast Ambulance Service, he helped stabilise the patient.

“The decision was taken that, despite it being a longer ambulance journey than to Eastbourne, the trauma expertise now available at the County made bringing her straight to us the right thing to do.

“Fifteen minutes after arriving in A&E she was in the CT scanner – the national average for major trauma centres is 70 minutes.

“A piece of her pelvic bone had punctured her bladder which was causing a life-threatening internal bleed.

“Within an hour of arriving she was in theatre where our chief of trauma Iain McFadyen, consultant urologist Tim Larner and consultant anaesthetist Julia Ely and their teams operated on her for three hours.

“She survived and is doing remarkably well.

“As we become the major trauma centre for the South East we will of course need to modernise and expand our buildings and infrastructure but this will only ever be the lesser part of the story.

“What we can and are doing, more quickly than we can rebuild the hospital, is get in place the clinical specialists who can save the lives and rebuild the bodies of the most seriously injured patients.

“This mum’s story is so heart-warming because it shows exactly what it means to be the major trauma centre.”

He said that from midnight on Sunday (31 October) to midnight on Monday (1 November) 492 patients were seen, treated and admitted or discharged through Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust emergency departments.

These include the A&E at the Royal Sussex as well as at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

And, he said, 113 of those patients were brought to the Royal Sussex alone by ambulance.

On Monday evening there were nine consultants from different specialties in A&E at the Royal Sussex.

They were treating and discharging patients and ensuring that the hospital admitted only those for whom there was no other option.

He added: “This does not sit easily alongside an infrastructure which is at best a decade out of date and in a very practical way having to constantly fit a quart into a pint pot.

“I do know the perpetual state of stress this is causing for those who are managing this on a day-to-day basis.

“I assure you we are doing everything we can to address this in a sustainable way, but this does take time and regrettably there are no magic bullets.

“In the meantime I appreciate all that you are doing to balance everything as best you can, and despite everything, to do our job.”

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