Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

We Held the Heart of a Young Boy in Our Hands and Willed It to Beat; IN OPEN LETTER TO THE STANDARD, SURGEON MAKES DRAMATIC PLEA TO TEENAGERS TO GIVE UP WEAPONS

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

We Held the Heart of a Young Boy in Our Hands and Willed It to Beat; IN OPEN LETTER TO THE STANDARD, SURGEON MAKES DRAMATIC PLEA TO TEENAGERS TO GIVE UP WEAPONS

Article excerpt

LAST night, a team consisting of myself and two London air ambulance service paramedics was one of two duty teams providing advanced trauma care to the people of London.

After we had finished handing over one patient to the team at St Mary's hospital we were alerted to another job. The information we were given was of an adult male, stabbed to the chest. The London Ambulance Service teams, already with the patient, needed our help. We donned our protective stab vests and plotted a route to the scene.

It soon became apparent that the patient was very sick and they wanted to move to hospital. Our paramedic in ambulance control co-ordinated both teams so that we met seamlessly. We had made a plan of what we would do if we were faced with the worst scenario, namely a patient in cardiac arrest with a stab wound to the chest.

What we found was the all too familiar scenario of a young boy with a single stab wound to the chest, who was in cardiac arrest. Our teaching is to make a very quick assessment and then proceed to attempt to repair the damage that has been done.

We performed a resuscitative thoracotomy immediately opening the chest to gain access to the heart and lungs to simultaneously diagnose the injury and treat it. In this instance the sac around the heart was tense and filled with the blood that had leaked from the stabbed heart deep within it.

The heart struggled to beat again and as it did it bled from its wounds and a significant wound from the aorta, the main artery that leaves it to take blood to the rest of the body.

The wounds were sutured, warmed blood was transfused directly into the heart and adrenaline infused to stimulate it to beat again. We held the heart of a young boy in our hands and willed it to beat and to survive.

We continued to hospital but our efforts and the efforts of the hospital team could not save this young man. …

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