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2012 Aeromedical Conference in Cairns DAY TWO REPORT


Final round of Aeromedical Simulation Cup
Head Injury Retrieval Trial results

but lets start from the ….start

Flight nurse Maree Cummins opened the day with a great talk on flight nursing education within RFDS and the Queensland section. She highlighted the nurse practitioner program of which she is a graduate.



Dr Andrew Pearce followed with a presentation on the James Cook University Aeromedical course


Andrew did pretty well this conference as you will read later!
THe JCU aeromedical course started 5 years ago with Andrew, Dr Stefan Mazur , Dr Peter Aitken and Dr Matt Hooper in Townsville. I was invited to join as lecturer to write the psychiatric and obstetric retrieval sections. Andrew reported on how the course has become popular and well enrolled


Next was Dr Alan Garner of Careflight NSW, Sydney, reporting on the Head Injury Retrieval trial. This was a 7 year RCT comparing road paramedic vs helicopter prehospital doctor care in severe head injured patients. It was a trial I had hoped would answer some long argued issues in prehospital care. Does advanced prehospital trauma care make a significant difference in traumatic brain injury, especially when delivered by a prehospital doctor?

No it did not show a significant difference in their primary outcome measure, adult Glascow outcome scale at 6 months!
However Alan outlined some of the sample data issues. There was 20% crossover between treatment and standard groups. Even after 7 years, they had not got enough patient numbers included to reach calculated study power. The only a priori measure to be significant was prehospital physician treated patients spent shorter ICU admissions!

What this all means is that we still do not have a strong evidence base to support prehospital RSI for TBI over standard basic trauma care and we still are unable to sort out the head injured patients who will truly benefit from prehospital RSI versus others who will not (the two ends of the spectrum, those with no brain injury and those with a severe injury) It seems doubtful research such as this will ever be repeated again.


Dr Peter Sherren from GSA HEMS then presented a fantastic paper on burns and coagulopathy of trauma. He also presented a second paper on winching of helicopter physicians a bit later in the day which he received the BEST PAPER conference award! Great stuff!


After lunch, it was time to run the final round of the Aeromedical retrieval simulation CUP 2012!
the finalists were MedSTAR Adelaide and Alice Springs/RFDS Central Operations.
The first scenario was taken on by Alice Springs/ RFDS team and they had to deal with a propanol and verapamil lethal suicidal overdose!


They had to deal with an overly dutiful cleaner who kept taking their retrieval equipment away! well handled the team from the Red Centre!

Then Dr Andrew Pearce led his MedStar team into the arena for their scenario.

They had to deal with a young man with acute chest pain after taking an ecstasy tablet. He suffers a STEMI , SVT collapse then VF arrest. The patients heavily pregnant wife, goes into labour during the scenario and collapses on the floor!






Okay I forgot to mention some other things during DAY TWO!

Stefan Becker from Swiss Rega Air Rescue service gave a funny and very enjoyable presentation on his service!
Here is early Swiss air rescue with a parachuting dog and doctor!

They even air rescue farmers’ cows!


And this was way cool…helicopter rescue from disabled cable car!


After the competition Flight nurse Fran Neylon from RFDS Alice Springs base gave an excellent presentation on her research into workforce demographics for the aging aeromedical nursing workforce in Australia and issues around longevity in the aeromedical industry.



Dr Adam Pritchard of RFDS Cairns base gave a great presentation on prehospital ultrasound for pneumothorax. Well Done Adam!


And finally, there were some great scientific posters.






Come join us next year in Melbourne!


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