Displaying items by tag: Medevac
Derry–Londonderry–Doire is diverting to Hobart in Tasmania for a medevac of an injured crewman as a precautionary measure.
Skipper Daniel Smith contacted the Race Office at 1030 AEDT today (2330 UTC Tuesday 8 December) to report that round-the-world crew member Michael Gaskin, 54, from the West Midlands, UK, had sustained suspected broken ribs after he fell by the helming position when a wave broke over the back of the yacht in rough seas and 35 knots wind, approximately 130 nautical miles to the southwest of Tasmania.
Team Medics Ali Boeree and Jan Chatzis administered first aid while the Skipper contacted ClipperTelemed+, the Clipper Race remote telemedicine service. Doctors at the Praxes operations centre in Halifax, Canada, confirmed diagnosis and directed the provision of pain relief and anti-nausea medication.
Due to the proximity of Hobart and the rough conditions, the Skipper has decided to divert as a precaution so that Michael can be treated ashore. The team will continue the race to Sydney once Michael has been transferred to hospital.
“The Skipper reports that Mike is in a stable condition and is receiving pain relief,” explained Race Director Justin Taylor. “The conditions were quite challenging at the time. Mike was clipped on behind the high side helm. The low side helm took over to allow Mike to step in. A breaking wave broke over the side of cockpit and Mike says he hit the pushpit and heard his ribs crunch. He was then washed into the A frame and sustained a small cut to his head. He was stopped by his safety tether. This was the first breaking wave into the boat the team had experienced, although they had a lot of spray.”
Water breaking over the deck is very powerful. A cubic metre of water weighs a metric tonne.
This is the first medevac of the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race, the tenth edition of the biennial global series, the world’s longest ocean race at more than 40,000 miles, taking 11 months to race between six continents. Only a handful of the 3300 amateur sailors who have participated over the last 19 years have had to be evacuated, the majority as a precaution following medical treatment aboard.
Michael’s next of kin has been informed. Everyone else aboard is safe and well.
Michael is an experienced yachtsman, holding a Day Skipper qualification and had previously sailed around Scotland, the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean.
The yacht is estimated to reach Hobart around 1000 AEDT tomorrow (Thursday) morning 10 December (2300 UTC 9 December).
As UTV News reports, Rescue 117 from Waterford was joined by Rescue 115 from Shannon in the medevac some 160km west of Fastnet Rock at the Swedish-registered MV Atlantic Cartier, where the long-range-specialist Sikorsky S-92 helicopters faced strong gales and heavy seas.
According to TheJournal.ie, the ill crewman, who was reporting chest pains, was airlifted to Cork Airport where he was transferred to an ambulance.
This was the second such callout in a fortnight, after a medevac from Inishbofin on 15 November, with severe weather conditions once again facing the volunteer crew, who have had a busy year to date trialling the Mersey-class lifeboat.
With winds blowing north-west Force 7 to 8 and a swell warning issued by Met Éireann, a round trip of almost 50 nautical miles was required to bring the casualty to shore for urgent medical attention.
"The swell was over five metres at times and it took us around an hour and 45 minutes to reach the island," said Clifden RNLI coxswain John Mullen, "but thankfully the Pride and Spirit is well equipped for such conditions.
"We brought the casualty into Cleggan Harbour shortly after 7pm and would like to wish her a speedy recovery."
The volunteer lifeboat crew consisting of Owen Hayes (navigator), Robert King (mechanic), David O Reilly, Daniel Whelan and coxswain Mullen returned to Clifden Bay shortly before 9pm.
After a 5.43am pager alert, the volunteer lifeboat crew consisting of Alan Pryce, Robert King, David Barry, Daniel Whelan, Brian Ward and David Coyne set out for the island in the all-weather lifeboat Pride & Spirit.
Clifden RNLI deputy launching authority Saul Joyce described the conditions at the time as "extremely challenging and certainly the most severe weather the crew have experienced in the all-weather Mersey class lifeboat to date."
On arriving at Inishbofin Harbour, the crew met with the district nurse who helped transfer the casualty onto the waiting lifeboat. The patient, a woman experiencing severe abdominal pain, was then taken by lifeboat to Cleggan where an ambulance was waiting.
Clifden RNLI coxswain Alan Pryce said of the launch: "With winds consistently Force 8 and above at times and a heavy five- to six-metre swell, this proved a challenging call for our crew, particularly setting off in darkness. We wish the patient a speedy recovery."
The teen, who was suffering from an appendicitis, was transferred from the island aboard the lifeboat Alan Massey to Baltimore Lifeboat Station, from where an ambulance brought her to hospital in Cork.
Equipment was then cleaned and stored, and the lifeboat was ready for service again by 1.10am.
The crew were Kieran Cotter, Pat Collins, Jerry Smith, Don O'Donovan, Colin Whooley, Sean McCarthy and Mícheál Cottrell. Shore helpers at the station were Brian McSweeney, Aidan Bushe and Youen Jacob.
The fisherman was later transferred from Cork Airport to Cork University Hospital for treatment.
The operation comes just a week after another Russian crewman was airlifted from a factory ship off Cork after sustaining a hand injury.
The latest incident is believed to relate to a bleeding ulcer, and the casualty was expected to be transferred to the mainland for treatment by yesterday afternoon.
The rest of the trawler's seven-man crew were expected to return to port in Castletownbere in West Cork this morning.
The Irish Times reports that the HSE West has defended its actions in deploying successive rescue helicopters to airlift the elderly tourist as part of the coastguard's air ambulance service, despite the Inis Mór GP who treated her broken ankle describing the injury as not serious.
But the National Ambulance Service does not have a contract with Aer Arann, which operates commuter plane flights in the islands, necessitating a medevac by coastguard helicopter at an estimated total cost of €7,000.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
Chris Reynolds was speaking before a select sub-committee hearing at the Oireachtas last week, at which he explained that the national coastguard has taken on a bigger role in responding to "semi heart-attack" cases.
"They often say the best medicine for this type of heart attack is aviation fuel," said Reynolds. "One has to get to a hospital within a certain short period. Life expectancy and quality of life are better increased, accordingly. We have engaged with the HSE on this particular role."
The medevac role is one much more applicable to the Irish Coast Guard's air units today, especially with the fourth new-generation Sikorsky S92 rescue helicopter brought into service last month signalling the modernisation of the fleet in spite of a 7% reduction in the State's maritime transport and safety programme.
Reynolds added that the Department of Health "is examining the holistic area of air medical services including the Air Corps, air services and the coastguard and will produce a report for the Cabinet sometime this year."
Meanwhile, Reynolds also acknowledged the increase of hoax calls to the Irish Coast Guard in recent years, and gave an interesting reason for the spike in numbers.
"The issue arose in 2010 because a decision was made then that when one called 999, one was offered the coastguard as well," he said, noting that the situation "has been constant ever since".
Yet while hoax calls remain an upward trend, Reynolds emphasised that there is "a difference between a false alert and a hoax. Our operators are smart enough to recognise most hoax calls.
"Occasionally, we get a clever one, forcing us to launch a helicopter or lifeboat needlessly."