Course: Clinical Considerations in Aeromedical Transport (CCAT)
21st to 25th August 2017
University of Surrey, Guildford, UK
The Clinical Considerations in Aeromedical Transport (CCAT) Foundation
course as per the website is a 5 day introductory course for personnel
already working in or interested in working in patient air transport
I chose this course primarily to see what the content of the course was
and to then use this knowledge to improve the existing education program
for my service and my retrieval colleagues nationally.
The course is facilitated by Terry Martin a very respected &
experienced clinician in aeromedical medicine. Pre reading &
questions were sent out prior to commencement of the course with the
expectation that they were completed. The topics were the atmosphere, the
physiological effects of altitude, vibration, acceleration and minimising
risk and aeromedical crew resource management. Whilst most of this was
revision they certainly made you think about the responses. We were also
informed that there would be a pre-test on arrival & a test at the
completion of the course.
Day 1 of the course commenced with a very well organised registration
process and straight into the exam with some challenging questions.
Following this introductions were made. There were approximately 30
attendees which was a larger than normal group. It was a very interesting
group of people travelling predominately from the UK but also from Hong
Kong, Pakistan, Canada, Africa, Finland and myself. They were very
interested that I had travelled that far for the course, "didn't we have
anything like this in Australia" and more importantly about the type of
work my service and other services did in Australia.
Topics covered included altitude physiology looking at the atmosphere, a
quick revision of basic respiratory physiology to lead into hypoxia .Gas
expansion, cabin pressure & decompression were also covered. These
were all supported with videos and audio examples. The afternoon
addressed acceleration forces, vibration, motion sickness and a case
study to look at medical risk assessment.
Day 2 was an early start as we travelled to the British Airways Training
Centre at Heathrow. Once we had our security passes we were shown some of
the training that the cabin crew undertake. We were put through our paces
in a realistic emergency situation in a plane, how to open the doors in
an emergency and emergency drills including the evacuation shoots.
Dressed in orange overalls we all then were able to slide down the
evacuation shoots for 2 different planes. This was a really enjoyable day
but demonstrated the level of training and equipment that is aboard large
aeroplanes so that the next time the dreaded call comes over the plane
intercom for medical assistance I'll respond with a bit more enthusiasm.
Day 3 lectures included topics of human factors examining noise,
communications, alertness, jet lag and time zones. Case studies and
clinical considerations were other topics covered examining patients with
specific respiratory, cardiac, haematological, neurological and spinal
conditions. The impact that these conditions have on the decision to
transport/timing and how were discussed. However this was predominately
from a repatriation process as there is a large requirement for this in
Day 4 saw a continuation of medical conditions including ENT, maxilla
facial, ophthalmic and orthopaedic patients. Nursing care was discussed
but this again was from a repatriation view point but there were still
relevant & applicable points regardless of the type of transport.
Attendees could either undertake Underwater Escape and Sea Survival
Training (an additional fee was paid to undertake this) or attend the
London HEMS. I elected to attend the London HEMS. When we arrived they
were out on a mission but were soon to return. Prior to them returning we
walked around on the helipad and had a fantastic view of London. Once the
helicopter & crew returned we were able to look inside the
helicopter. It was amazing how much equipment they could fit into a small
aircraft. I was amazed to see an Oxylog 2000 was the ventilator.
Day 5 complex patients and their care & requirements were discussed.
Use of oxygen, calculating requirements and how these requirements can be
met were also discussed. medicolegal issues in transport with a focus on
repatriation were discussed. Finally, revision, clarification and
questions before our exam. Fortunately I did pass the exam & was
issued with my certificate for the course.
The course was certainly worth attending as it "refreshed my memory" on a
few topics and I will use the pretesting information for my team. After
discussion with Terry I also came away with a research topic that I hope
to undertake in 2018 & present at an ASA conference.
There is a heavy focus on repatriation transport in the course so for
clinicians who undertake this sort of transport I would recommend
attending the course.
What I also found very helpful was the information that was sent
regarding accommodation options, transport options and maps to show where
the campus was.
photos: London HEMS Helipad, London HEMS team, view from London HEMS