A DOCTOR who flies on the region’s air ambulance will travel to the USA and Canada to investigate a life-saving treatment that could soon be utilised on patients much closer to home.
Dr Simon Le Clerc, a consultant in emergency medicine, who works for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), hopes procedures pioneered in the US Army could be adopted and utilised on patients across the North-East, North Yorkshire and Cumbria.
He will focus on treating non-compressible haemorrhage, internal bleeding that cannot currently be stopped outside of the operating theatre.
The trip has been made possible by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, which has awarded Dr Le Clerc a Churchill Travelling Fellowship. The six-week trip will involve coast to coast travel as Dr Le Clerc, from Stockton-on-Tees, visits research facilities across North America.
Dr Le Clerc, medical director at GNAAS, said: “It will certainly be interesting, but we are hoping it will bring significant benefit to our patients.
“This could be very important. It’s a clinical gap at the moment around the world. Internal bleeding is one of the most serious issues facing a trauma patient out in the field. This advancement could stop that bleeding before they get to hospital. The quicker we can stop someone bleeding, the better chance they have at surviving their injuries.
“It works alongside other developments GNAAS has adopted, including the use of blood transfusions and tranexamic acid, TXA, which both treat blood loss and which are both already saving lives in the region.”
Mr Le Clerc is one of 5,250 British men and women to have been awarded Churchill Fellowships since 1965, out of more than 100,000 applicants. The scheme was approved by Sir Winston Churchill, who prior to his death in 1965 had indicated a desire not to have another statue in his memory but instead a living legacy to benefit future generations.
Julia Weston, chief executive at The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, said: “Churchill Fellows travel globally and return with innovative ideas and a commitment to sharing their findings to help others in the UK.”
GNAAS is a charity which needs to raise £4.5m every year in order to survive.