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Emergency consultant wins two awards for improving care of car crash victims


A Consultant Nurse from Wrexham Maelor Hospital’s Emergency Department has received two awards for his research into how to safely rescue someone from a car incident. 

Rob Fenwick, Emergency Department Consultant Nurse, and Tim Nutbeam, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust and Devon Air Ambulance, led on the EXtrication In Trauma (EXIT) Project, to help improve the approach used to rescue people in a car incident with the aim of reducing worldwide death and disability. 

The EXIT Project findings, from a series of nine studies on road safety, has been incorporated in the national ambulance and fire service guidelines, and has received two awards from The Trauma, Audit and Research Network’s (TARN) and The Prince Michael International Road Safety. 

Rob said: “Road traffic collisions are a leading cause of death and injury in the UK and following a road traffic collision many patients will remain trapped in their vehicle.  

“Historical methods of caring and removing patients from vehicles after a collision were designed to keep the patient as still as possible at all costs, but this approach leads to significant delays in patients receiving optimal and timely care. 

“This approach is to minimise avoidable secondary spinal injury, but it’s not evidence based and may contribute to excess injury and death. 

“Our studies found that trapped people are more injured and more likely to die. Prolonged extrication techniques based on movement minimisation are perhaps not justified given the low rate of spinal cord injury and the high rate of other injuries. 

“I’m delighted the guidance that has come from this project has been incorporated into national guidance, and we hope to see a big impact in the rates of serious injury and death from motor vehicle collisions.” 

The EXIT project, funded by Road Safety Trust, has developed evidence-based guidance for the extrication of patients trapped in motor vehicles to support rescue teams to make informed decisions on an individual basis.  

Sonya Hurt, CEO of The Road Safety Trust said: “We are delighted to have funded this project and that Rob Fenwick and colleagues have been recognised for their hard work. The research that Rob, Tim and team conducted will be influential in reducing both deaths and serious injuries on the UK roads and is being recognised both nationally and internationally."