The Casualty Care course started on Friday evening with a discussion on important anatomy. Damon “volunteered” (i.e. he didn’t move quick enough!) to be the model for this part and allowed the participants to draw on his torso where important organs are located, such as heart, lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys etc. This made a potentially rather dry subject a lot of fun.
On Saturday morning we all enjoyed a hearty breakfast cooked by our Team Leader Iain and his assistants. The morning was spent on what is known as the “Primary Survey” of a casualty, usually abbreviated to DRABC, which stands for Danger (check for), Response, Airway, Breathing and Circulation (including any life threatening bleeding). Being an MR course this was all done outside lying on the grass and mud around our base.
After lunch we went on to cover the Secondary survey where we looked at the systematic approach to examining a casualty from head to toe. After it went dark we ran a full casualty exercise, with small groups going to find a casualty in the woods. The casualty was examined, a diagnosis made, treatment administered, packaged for extraction and then finally moved to the waiting “ambulance”.
We broke for a superb dinner made by Iain and another group of helpers from the team.
Dinner was followed by the use of intramuscular injections. This technique is used to administer a variety of important drugs to treat things like severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) and administer pain relief. This can be challenging for team members doing this for the first time, as we practice on each other using saline injections. Everyone got through it very well, with the old hands helping the newer team members. Just to make it extra realistic we do it outside in the dark using head torches for light.
Sunday dawned windy and cold. Iain and his helpers served up another fine breakfast, after which we then had an excellent interactive discussion on the drugs used by the team to treat a wide variety of conditions and alleviate symptoms. This is a key area, as it is even more important to know when to refrain from giving a drug, as it is to know which drug to use for a particular condition.
We then moved outside again for sessions were we took turns to be the casualty or the casualty carer. This involved scenarios with trauma injuries, for instance broken bones, bleeding etc. and medical conditions like heart attacks, angina, anaphylactic reactions, hypothermia, asthma, fits, etc.
We rounded up the course with a review and all of us thanked the volunteer instructors, led by Harold, who had given up their weekends to provide a fantastic course.
We have a mock exam next weekend, with a written and practical element, followed a week later with the real exam, carried out by Accident and Emergency Consultants… no pressure there then!
In amongst this NEWSAR ran two incidents, firstly on Friday night (https://newsar.org.uk/2012/01/512-team-callout-to-the-welshpool-area/). On Saturday we worked with Search and rescue Dogs (SARDA) to search additional areas in connection with the disappearance of Mr Michael Murphy, missing from the Flintshire Bridge since the 4th January https://newsar.org.uk/2012/01/312-callout-in-the-deeside-area/.