When you assemble a group of people with fast machines and ask them to drive at high speeds around a circuit of sharp turns and tight corners, accidents and injuries seem unavoidable. Despite this, motorsport accidents are infrequent, though they can be serious when they occur. Toni Murch, MCPara, HCPC-registered paramedic and business development manager at Celox Medical, recounts one incident where effective haemorrhage control was critical for survival.
Motorsport is one of the most popular sports in the United Kingdom, with the Motor Sports Association (MSA) issuing permits for approximately 5000 events each year. With 29 active permanent circuits around the country and televised races attracting thousands of viewers from around the world, the UK is undoubtedly one of the most active territories in motorsports.
While racing venues uphold very high safety standards and employ trained emergency medical personnel for races, accidents still happen. The critical factor is the speed and effectiveness of medical staff to respond when an accident occurs; something that can be a matter of life or death.
Celox Medical, a global brand by Medtrade Products, was established to specialise in the field of pre-hospital haemorrhage control. A result that stems from the company’s commitment for continuously monitoring and assessing the safety and performance of its products once these are released in the market.
For example, several medical support teams at motorsport venues around the UK carry Celox products to provide fast, effective haemorrhage control, with Celox Rapid being the company's fastest acting haemostatic gauze.
Meditech Global, the trackside emergency ambulance provider at the Rockingham Motor Speedway, recently reported a prime example of how its paramedics used Celox to save the life of a motorcyclist.
During a bike track day, a fault with a motorcycle’s braking system developed. Unable to slow down, the rider turned through a high-speed corner and lost control of his bike. The momentum forced both bike & rider sliding off the circuit at over 100mph. The speed and force were so intense that the rider continued over the gravel trap before hitting the tyre wall protected armco barrier. The rider came to an eventual stop fully conscious with his legs split apart.
Whilst a rare type of accident, it was extremely challenging to treat. The rider had suffered a dislocated femur with an arterial laceration on the upper thigh and multiple fractures to his pelvis. Failure to stem the flow of blood from the laceration would result in the rider bleeding out.
Time is of the essence with arterial bleeds, particularly as the time to treat after a motorsports accident is often not immediate. Response to the incident was prompt with the first paramedic/technician crewed ambulance at scene within 60 seconds.
With a one-minute haemorrhage already a reality, emergency treatment needed to be done quickly to stop the arterial bleed caused by the laceration. The paramedic at the scene immediately turned to Celox and later reported that the chitosan-coated gauze, stopped the arterial bleeding within three minutes.
Given the severity of the wound, the air ambulance transferred the patient to Coventry emergency hospital. A 12-minute, high pressure, high vibration journey, with air-medics potentially ready for another haemorrhage situation on the flight. Celox kept the wound sealed without any rebleeding on route from the circuit to the emergency hospital. The patient arrived safe and was taken straight into the operating theatre and was successfully treated.
Without an effective haemostatic gauze on hand to provide fast haemorrhage control, the story could have ended very differently. Fortunately, the emergency team had Celox on hand to act quickly and properly. A haemostatic gauze can treat life-threatening bleeding fast, without the need for a tourniquet and, for Celox Rapid, with only 60 seconds compression, or until bleeding stops.
Life threatening accidents are fortunately rare, but accidents do happen in motorsport. For the emergency services responding to these accidents, speed is as important for treatment as it is for the racers competing. It’s important that emergency responders have the fastest acting products available to ensure as many people survive as possible.