Prolonged entrapment in Blackburn
"It was the worst entrapment I have seen in 24 years" was the comment of Dr Vic Calland, Honorary Treasurer of BASICS, after he attended a road traffic crash on Whalley New Road in Blackburn. The accident occurred around ten to four this morning and the first crew was on scene six minutes later.
There were two casualties at the scene; one, with minor injuries was detained by the police, the other, a man in his 20's, was trapped by the legs. On arrival of the Fire Service it became apparent just how complex the situation was. The car had become wrapped around a lamp-post which intruded approximately one and a half feet into the passenger compartment. It was wedged between the lampost and a stone wall that retained an embankment behind. The passenger footwell had been compressed to a width of approximately four inches and the front nearside wheel had been forced to lie horizontally above the casualties legs which were crushed in the footwell. After 30 minutes it was clear that this was going to be a prolonged incident and a call was put out for a BASICS Doctor.
Dr Calland was the nearest available doctor and travelled the 12 miles to scene in 20 minutes. The patient had already been given 2 litres of saline to try to maintain a radial pulse, and was still in severe pain despite the morphine that had been administered. Using a powerful anaesthetic allowed the Fire crew to reveal more of the trapped limbs and it became apparent there was arterial bleeding that was out of reach. A combat tourniquet was applied and Celox used on other heavily bleeding wounds. The casualty was kept warm with a self heating blanket, and a pelvic splint was applied whilst the casualty was still in the vehicle.
Dr Calland said "We had expected the extrication to take even longer, and so we arranged for blood to be brought to the scene, but as it arrived the Fire crew suceeded in freeing his legs, and as his condition had now been stabilised, he was evacuted to the Royal Blackburn Hospital arriving exactly two hours after the initial 999 call"
He added, "I was very impressed with all the members of the team that worked at this incident. It was outside the comfort zone for us all, and yet the professionalism, training and close co-operation exhibited by all those present overcame challenges none of us had faced before."