Laryngoscopes will aid rescue helicopter work

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 Helicopter.
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 Helicopter.
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 their target.

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 airway.

''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, he said.

''It's relatively new to the market.

''We've got by without it in the past, but this will make our jobs easier.

''It will help reduce the stress; it's one less thing to worry about.''

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 Inch said.

''The service that these guys provide is amazing.

Photos by Gerard O'Brien.
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 available.''

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 best equipment.

''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.

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