King’s Lynn’s hospital’s traumatic course

Advanced Trauma Life Support Course (ATLS) at the QEH
Advanced Trauma Life Support Course (ATLS) at the QEH

Doctors at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital have undergone a three-day advanced trauma life support course (ATLS).

Operated on behalf of the Royal College of Surgeons, the course hones lifesaving skills and increases confidence in dealing with serious injuries.

Consultant anaesthetist Alistair Steel has been running the course for three years and says it is important for the local community.

Dr Steel said: “The majority of patients we see here are unrelated to trauma and typically doctors will only see a handful of severely injured patients a year, so courses like this play an important role in ensuring doctors remain up-to-date and confident in applying their life-saving skills.

“As the injuries we see here are different to what you would see in places like London, we do try to make the course relative to this area. Most of the major traumatic injuries we see in West Norfolk are caused by older people falling over.”

Last year staff at the A&E department treated injuries related to 39 road crashes and 196 falls, 23 which were from more than two metres in height.

Up to 29 trauma patients were over the age of 90 and seven were under the age of 18.

The ATLS course was developed in America during the 1970s to ensure doctors in rural areas had adequate training in trauma management.

Dr Steel said: “Broken hips are among the most common traumatic injury we see here. This type of injury may not sound ‘traumatic’ but these are very distressing for older people along with making a big impact on their lives and future mobility.

“While we would love to see many of these injuries prevented, courses such as this help the region’s doctors better care for patients should they sustain injuries.

“We are really proud of the 20 candidates that put themselves through the training – they all did really well.

“We are also grateful to the expert senior doctors from the QEH and around the region that helped us to run the course.”