What a Search & Rescue doctor carries on the jobCheck out the tools of the trade for emergency treatments up in the air.
//Story & Video Koh Eng Beng
//Photos Kenneth Lin & courtesy of CPT (Dr) Tabitha Ang
Search and Rescue (SAR) doctors like Captain (CPT) (Dr) Tabitha Ang need more than just medical gear when it comes to rescuing the critically ill and injured from remote places, and treating them in mid-air.
Her workplace is not a clinic or hospital, but on board the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF's) specially-fitted red-and-white Rescue 10 helicopter.
To provide quick-response critical care, she packs these 10 aircrew-related and medical equipment:
Protects the wearer's head – especially when winching down from or up to the helicopter. Comes with headset and microphone for communication with the rest of the crew.
2. Life preserver unit
Keeps the wearer afloat in the event of an aircraft emergency.
Secures the wearer to safety apparatus and allows him or her to move safely within the helicopter.
4. SAR wall
Hanging storage bag that provides easy access to various medical equipment, emergency medication and supplies like cervical-collar (brace that helps stabilise the patient's neck), bandages and dressings.
5. Monitoring and defibrillator unit
Provides readings of patient's vital signs such as heart rate, oxygen saturation and blood pressure. When necessary, able to provide shocks to restore a normal heartbeat.
6. Oxygen tanks and mask
Provides supplemental oxygen to the patient.
7. Suction unit
Removes secretions like mucous, phlegm or blood from the patient's airway.
8. Video laryngoscope
To facilitate airway intubation (insertion of a breathing tube) to help the patient breathe, even in tight confines when there is little space to manoeuvre.
9. Drop leg pouch
Provides quick access to essential medical equipment like the oropharyngeal airway (device to hold the patient's airway open), arterial tourniquet (to stop severe bleeding from a limb) and intravenous plug setting equipment.
10. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
N95 mask, surgical gloves, gown and eye protection to protect wearer against infectious diseases (e.g. COVID-19).
Watch this video as CPT (Dr) Ang gives a rundown of the equipment she carries!