Fifteen doctors put theory into practice on 7 August after they were winched from a hovering rescue helicopter at Archerfield Airport, as part of their final training as CareFlight Group Queensland’s new intake of registrars. This specialist training session saw the recruits lowered down a winch wire, practising double winching and stretcher winching over land, to ensure they are prepared for any emergency aeromedical situations they might encounter out in the field, said the company.
“Winching is a challenging process that involves not just their incredible skills as doctors, but also the physical demands,” commented CareFlight aircrew instructor Matt O'Rourke. “They could be winched down to a critically injured patient on the RACQ CareFlight Rescue helicopter, have to lug heavy equipment across paddocks at a farm accident, or spend hours treating a seriously ill person on a Royal Flying Doctors’ aircraft or one of CareFlight’s own medically equipped [planes]. It really is all in a day’s work for these new recruits.”
For the next six months, 15 registrars will call CareFlight home, operating as critical care doctors out of centres across Queensland.
The winch exercise was part of a week of intensive, hands-on training to get the new recruits accustomed to the challenges of frontline aeromedical care.
“Last year alone, CareFlight’s 120 doctors had nearly 4,000 patient contacts, attending to more than 10 patients a day,” CareFlight chief medical officer Dr Allan MacKillop explained. He added that the training also included tackling chest trauma and road crash rescue, among other pre-hospital scenarios, and helicopter underwater escape training.