Dunedin Hospital intensive care unit associate charge nurse
manager Toni Johnston (left) and Special Rigs for Special
Kids co-ordinator Greg Inch (centre) watch Dunedin Hospital
intensive care unit consultant Hans Waibel use a new video
laryngoscope on a mannequin in the Otago Regional Rescue
When it comes to emergency medicine, seeing is benefiting
- especially when you are placing a breathing tube in an
injured patient's airway.
And after receiving two video laryngoscopes, the crew on the
Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter will have no trouble seeing
Placing breathing tubes in unconscious patients is a
difficult procedure, frequently performed on critically
injured, ill or anaesthetised patients to prevent the
possibility of asphyxiation or airway obstruction.
St John intensive care paramedic Doug Flett said the new
equipment was similar to a typical laryngoscope, except these
ones have a small digital camera on one end and a screen on
the other to help the user see and direct a tube into the
''It's going to make a hard job securing someone's airway
easier in a difficult situation.
''If we choose to secure someone's airway, we can do it
easier in the confines of the aircraft, without having to
manipulate the body and move the neck,'' Mr Flett said.
The Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter would be one of the
first in New Zealand to have the piece of equipment on board,
''It's relatively new to the market.
''We've got by without it in the past, but this will make our
''It will help reduce the stress; it's one less thing to
The video laryngoscopes were donated by Special Rigs for
Special Kids co-ordinator Greg Inch.
''I asked Otago Rescue Helicopters for a wish list and this
was what they asked for,'' Special Rigs for Special Kids Mr
''The service that these guys provide is amazing.
Photos by Gerard O'Brien.
''As truck drivers, we see accidents all the time and
it's good to know they [the Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter
crew] are there when we need them, with the best equipment
Those involved in the annual Special Rigs for Special Kids
event hoped to give funding for more items on the rescue
helicopter's wish list, Mr Inch said.
''This machinery helps make their job quicker and easier - it
gives them much more of a chance in the golden hour.''
Helicopters Otago owner and rescue pilot Graeme Gale was
delighted with the new equipment, and was grateful for the
continued support of the community.
''It's because of the public support that we have the very
''If it gives a patient a better chance at survival, we'll
get that piece of gear.
''Without the community's support, we wouldn't have this
service,'' he said.