RTÉ documentary on doctors bringing pre-hospital emergency care to roadside crashes to be shown

A new RTÉ documentary will focus on the unsung hero doctors who save lives in their spare time by bringing pre-hospital emergency care to roadside crashes and emergencies.

RTÉ documentary on doctors bringing pre-hospital emergency care to roadside crashes to be shown

TV crews followed the highly-skilled doctors of Cork’s Rapid Response volunteer medical service for the fly-on-the-wall Seconds to Live programme which airs tonight.

The development of the service in Ireland was pioneered in Cork with three doctors — Dr Jason Van Der Velde, Dr Hugh Doran, and Dr Adrian Murphy — providing critical care support to the national ambulance service.

Similar units have since been established in Mayo, Bray, and Northern Ireland.

The Cork service responds to an average 20 incidents a month saving dozens of lives every year.

The once-off 50-minute documentary, which was shot over five months earlier this year and directed by John Norton, shows the dedicated doctors — who are on call 24-hours a day all year round — rushing to give critical care in real-life emergencies.

It features graphic footage of the medical teams working to save patients’ lives in the field.

Dr Van Der Velde, who works full-time in Cork University Hospital’s emergency department, is shown providing critical care to Noah, a three-year-old boy, who was knocked down in 2013.

Noah suffered multiple burns, abrasions and a traumatic brain injury and was airlifted in critical condition to hospital. However, thanks to the immediate care Noah received at the scene, he went on to make a full recovery.

“It is all about managing chaos. It’s about finding a little bit of order and trying to restore routine services,” said Dr Van Der Velde.

Carrigtwohill-based GP Dr Doran, who is following in the footsteps of his GP father who developed a pre-hospital service for his patients in East Cork, is shown racing to a road traffic incident to treat a young man who had been knocked down, suffering serious head, chest, and leg injuries.

Dr Murphy, who is on a six-month scholarship as a clinical fellow in pre-hospital emergency care with the London Air Ambulance service at the Royal London Hospital, said he hopes the programme will showcase the work and value of the Rapid Response service, and demonstrate to the people who help fund it how their donations save lives.

He said he hopes to bring what he has learned during his time in London back to the Cork Rapid Response service when he returns to his home city as a consultant in emergency medicine in the New Year.

Seconds to Live will be screened on RTÉ Two at 10pm tonight.

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