Stephen Hearns and Andrew Morris discuss what it is, what is involved, and what opportunities there are for medical students
- By: Stephen Hearns, Andrew Morris
At some time in their professional careers most doctors will help at a prehospital incident, be it a heart attack in the city centre or a road accident on the way to work. For some, however, this forms a regular part of their practice. These doctors are mostly volunteers working over and above their NHS commitments.
While the doctor at the scene of a motorway pile up is the most visible example, prehospital care covers a wide range of activities. These range from hospital flying squads to battlefield medicine, from medical cover at mass gatherings (such as T in the Park) to mountain and ski rescue and cover at motor sport and equestrian events. Prehospital doctors may also find their services needed overseas, as part of a disaster relief effort or as an expedition medic.
Not surprisingly, for a subspecialty that deals mainly, although by no means exclusively, with trauma,