Doctors and paramedics at work on shark attack victim Sam Morgan at Ballina airport where they set up a resuscitation work platform and administered three units of blood.
Doctors and paramedics at work on shark attack victim Sam Morgan at Ballina airport where they set up a resuscitation work platform and administered three units of blood. Contributed

Rapid response and blood positive for Sam Morgan

A RAPID coordinated response combined with vital blood supplies saw the most positive outcome possible for Ballina shark attack victim Sam Morgan according to Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter paramedic Rolan Murcott.

Mr Murcott said the Northern Region rescue helicopter had only been carrying blood for about six months, following successful trials on Sydney rescue helicopters.

Military grade eskies

"We have to carry the blood in special military grade eskies to keep the blood at exactly the right temperature," Mr Murcott said.

"In those six months it's made a difference in countless people's lives and that includes three shark attacks.

"Carrying those blood products has made a massive difference to treating these trauma patients that we attend.

"I've seen some incredible saves with this blood and it's the best thing that's ever happened to this region in terms of the helicopter medical team being able to carry this blood.

"I've been a paramedic for 23 years and carrying this blood has given the biggest change in clinical outcomes that I've seen in that time."

Blood makes the difference

When Mr Murcott and Dr Newell got to Mr Morgan he needed blood urgently.

"When people are suffering from massive shock like this it's the blood that makes the difference because of (it's) oxygen carrying capacity," Mr Murcott said.

"We know how time is of the essence; it's vital we get to people quickly, it's a must.

"We were second on scene, the first ambulance from Ballina had started stabilising the patient, but the thing the patient really needed was blood.

Time is of the essence

"Blood has been proven around the world to be the best agent for resuscitation of trauma patients.

"I have no doubt in my mind that blood played a significant role in getting a positive outcome because the patient was in profound shock from blood loss.

"We administered the two whole units of blood to him and we gave him another drug called TXA which a special anti-clotting drug

"That's a drug we give to people suffering massive trauma."

Without such a coordinated response, things may not have been as positive for Mr Morgan.

Well coordinated effort

"The (rescue helicopter) pilots that were on night shift drove down to the airport to change over with the day shift pilot and crewman," Mr Murcott said.

"It was a very well orchestrated and coordinated effort by all...despite the fact that we were off duty.

"I love working with the helicopter crew as a team, they all focus and work together to get the job done.

"Getting to the patient as fast as we can is essential and it's our priority."



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