A tourist who collapsed while hillwalking on the west coast Isle of Luing has prompted the landmark 5,000thrapid emergency response from Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA).
SCAA’s Perth-based Helimed 76 was on a training flight over Oban when the 999 call saw them divert to the medical emergency, arriving at the patient’s side on the island’s highest summit less than 10 minutes later.
With no medical response available on the island, retained firefighters made their way up the hillside where they stood by, ready to help SCAA paramedics as they administered vital pre-hospital treatment to the patient.
Firefighters then helped stretcher the man, who had been hillwalking with his wife, to the nearby helicopter and SCAA airlifted him to advanced care at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow – just a 25-minute flight away by air ambulance, compared to several hours by road and ferry.
After a two-day stay in hospital he was well enough to return home.
The charity’s 5,000th response to time-critical emergencies across the whole of Scotland and its many islands comes as SCAA marks its 10th anniversary this year.
Firmly established as a key player in Scotland’s nationwide emergency response and major trauma networks, SCAA’s two air ambulance helicopters (based at Perth and Aberdeen) and two Rapid Response Vehicles play a vital role in emergency pre-hospital care in cases of serious illness and injury.
Commenting on the milestone mission, SCAA Chief Executive David Craig said it was “a significant achievement” for everyone who has worked with or supported the life-saving charity during the past decade.
“Firstly, and most importantly, however, our thoughts are with the patient and we wish him a speedy and full recovery,” said Mr Craig.
“In flying to his rescue, we reached a significant landmark for our charity – the 5,000th call out responded to by our crews. The 5,000th life impacted by the work of SCAA and our outstanding crews of paramedics and pilots.
“The demand on Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) teams and air ambulance support continues to grow and SCAA has responded to that increasing need for emergency pre-hospital care during our 10 years in service by doubling our number of aircraft, crews and Rapid Response Vehicles and extending our operational hours.
“Our first year in operations saw us respond to 289 call outs. During the past year that figure was 963 – a clear indication of the vital and expanding role SCAA plays in Scotland’s busy emergency response network, serving both mainland and island communities.
“SCAA is funded entirely by public donation and its thanks to their support that SCAA has been able to sustain its life-saving service for the benefit of everyone in Scotland. Thanks to their continuing contributions, SCAA will fly into the future and the aid of many more thousands of patients.”