PRAXES leads medical training for skippers and crew

26 June 2015

The Clipper Race’s Global Medical Emergency Support Partner, PRAXES Medical Group, has led medical training for the skippers and medical crew members ahead of Race Start.

PRAXES CEO Susan Helliwell and Medical Director Dr John Ross travelled from the company’s Canada base to the UK for the specialist tuition which will aid the crew in the event of medical emergencies or situations.

The skippers and crew were trained in how to deal with many possible medical situations at sea including a heart attack, head injuries, broken bones, dislocated shoulders, collapsed lungs and abdominal injuries. They were shown how to suture, administer injections and anaesthetic, and how to use the on board medical kits.

PRAXES medical experts include emergency and occupational physicians who have years of experience of providing remote medical access to patients injured or ill in the world’s most hostile environments, where there are limited options for a medical evacuation and there is no rapid access to x-rays or hi-tech hospital equipment.

Their physicians are available 24/7 to give remote advice to the skippers and crews via the on board satellite phones.

Dr Ross said: “We went through many different medical scenarios that could happen, and taught the skippers to problem solve with what equipment they have available on board. We will always be there to help remotely on the end of the phone, but we want to give the skippers and medical crew member confidence that they can deliver many different suitable treatments themselves.

“It’s also about being confident in giving treatment in the rough conditions the crews will face.”

Skipper Huw Fernie said it had been very useful to be so specific about what the teams could possibly face.

“We went through loads of worst case scenarios, looked at lots of first aid things, practised stitching, cutting pigs feet open and put needles in things. At times we were doing things that we hope we will never have to do at sea, but it was good to see if we could do it.”

The PRAXES service extends to in-port consultations via video for less urgent conditions when crew are thousands of miles away from their GP and do not necessarily need a time-consuming hospital visit.

Ahead of the 2015-16 Race Start, crew members will be given the opportunity to upload their medical histories which will be kept confidentially by PRAXES in case of an emergency.

You can watch a video of the medical training here.

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