Allan Newbold has been a critical care paramedic with the RAC Rescue helicopter for more than nine years.

During his time with WA’s only combined helicopter emergency medical, search and rescue service, Mr Newbold has been involved in a wide range of difficult and traumatic responses.

As a paramedic, he says motor vehicle crashes remain among the most difficult response operations.

“Multi-trauma motor vehicle crashes of any sort are probably the most challenging.

“When someone’s got head injuries, chest injuries, internal bleeding, external bleeding – that’s pretty much as bad as it gets.”

Managing a patient with multiple traumas can require a number of different treatments, often in difficult surroundings.

“Any one thing in isolation has its own treatment approach but when you combine them, things that work well when you’ve got, say, a head injury, don’t work as well when you’ve got a chest
injury too.”

Receiving good patient information before arriving on the scene can make a big difference, but in certain circumstances this may not be possible.

“We always have information, but the amount of detail can vary.

“The first thing we do when we arrive is look at airways, breathing and circulation. We also have to ensure our own safety at the scene.

“In terms of the patient, we’re there to stabilise and prepare them for transport. We stabilise them so they have a better chance of surviving the journey to hospital and get to theatre if that’s where they need to go.”

Sponsored by the RAC and funded by the State Government, the two RAC Emergency Rescue helicopters based in Perth and Bunbury  are managed by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES).