According to mission statistics from London’s Air Ambulance, penetrating trauma (shootings and stabbings) was the most common reason the air ambulance helicopter was dispatched in 2017. In total, the service’s emergency medical staff were called to 560 penetrating trauma incidents, which constitutes 31 per cent of callouts – a significant increase from the 12 per cent of callouts the same incidents constituted in 2016. Previously, the main reason for the air ambulance to be called was because of road traffic accidents.
Dr Gareth Grier, Lead Clinician at London’s Air Ambulance, commented on what the statistics mean for the medical teams responding to calls for help: “It is not unusual now for our teams to perform open chest surgery for stab wounds twice in a single day. This would have been unheard of a few years back. But our world leading treatments means that we can give these and other patients we treat the best possible chance of survival. Procedures such as open chest surgery at the scene have been undertaken by our service for nearly 20 years.” He added: “Our new interventions such as REBOA (where a balloon is fed into the major blood vessels through the leg to prevent blood loss) delivered at the roadside have undoubtedly saved lives in London.”
Key statistics include:
- 1797 critically injured patients were treated in 2017, plus patients treated at Major Incidents.
- Of the 1797 patients treated, the mechanisms of injury were;
- Stabbings and shootings: 560 (31% of total)
- Road Traffic Collisions: 533 (30%)
- Falls from height: 412 (23%)
- Other (including incidents on the rail network, hangings and drownings): 292 (16%).
- Top three busiest boroughs were Hackney (107 patients treated), Newham (103 patients treated) and Westminster (99 patients treated).
- Busiest postcode areas were SE1, CR0 and NW10.