A highway construction firm from Bangor has helped provide a medical charity with its very own bags for life.
Hogan Construction, which also supplies construction material, has given £4,000 to pay for special life-saving rucksacks for the North Wales Emergency Doctors Service (NWEDS).
They contain medical equipment needed by the volunteer doctors who assist paramedics in treating patients at the scene of incidents.
NWEDS was set up in 2010 by a team of volunteer doctors, including Anglesey GP Mike Bloom, with the aim of improving the outcome for seriously injured patients at the scene of major incidents and before they are transferred to hospital by road or air ambulance.
The volunteer doctors attend incidents when called upon by the ambulance service and assist paramedics, often carrying out procedures ambulance staff are not qualified to do, with the aim of saving lives.
According to David Morris, the managing director of Hogan Construction, the work of NWEDS’ volunteer doctors, particularly at the scene of road traffic collisions, is something the company’s board felt was important to support.
He said: “A lot of the emergency work Dr Mike Bloom and his colleagues are involved in is all about helping seriously injured people on the highway. And of course a great deal of our work here at Hogan revolves around the construction and repair of the road networks throughout North and Mid-Wales.”
Fellow director Kevin Hogan added: “I believe the work NWEDS do is vital and done on an unpaid voluntary basis and it really deserves our support.
“We would urge other North Wales businesses, particularly those whose work involves the highway, to support this wonderful and important charity in any way they can.
“I have to admit, I was amazed to hear how much some of that equipment costs. The fact the doctors give up their free time and attend major incidents, whether it’s a serious car crash or a mountaineering accident, to help save lives is just amazing. We at Hogan Construction want to do everything we can to support that work.”
Dr Bloom, one of the founders of NWEDS says the two sizeable Hogan Construction donations has meant the charity has been able to purchase the specially designed rucksacks and fill them with the equipment they need.
He said: “As a charity we now have around seven fully trained NWEDS volunteer doctors.
“We only formed the charity four years ago whereas South Wales, which has 20 or so, volunteer doctors have been operating for around 20 years.
“However, we are getting called to the scene of road traffic collisions and other incidents on a regular basis and desperately needed these medical bags and the equipment they contain.
“What we can now do is have a fully kitted bag ready to hand to any new volunteer doctor so he or she can be ready to go right from the off.”
Dr Bloom says the role of NWEDS is not to take over from paramedics but to complement their work.
He said: “There are some procedures that paramedics are simply not qualified to carry out, for instance putting a chest drain into a patient at the roadside or at the scene of an incident.
“Since we started in 2010 we have been called out to more than 250 incidents from car crashes to cardiac arrests. We carry pagers and are called by the Ambulance Service when they need help.”
Ysbyty Gwynedd consultant anaesthetist and NWEDS volunteer medic, Dr Stephan Clements, says, while the emergency bags are expensive, the equipment they contain is even more costly.
He said: “The rucksacks, which are specially designed, cost around £500 each, while the equipment in each bag costs around £2,000.
“Each bag is crammed full of equipment such as portable bone drills which are £400 each, chest drains which are around £50 each and haemostatic dressings, which like a chest drain can only be used once, but cost between £50 and £60 each.
“Every penny we raise as a charity goes into buying equipment and training. We have helped give paramedic’s additional training while we have had to undergo driver training with the police so we can reach incidents as quickly, and above all, as safely as possible.”
He added: “The donations and help NWEDS has received from Hogan Construction will make a massive difference to us going forward and will help us save even more lives.”
Dr Bloom said: “Each medical bag now carries the Hogan name and logo and each is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Jepson, 16, of Cadole, Flintshire who died following a car crash in November 2013 despite the best efforts of paramedics and a NWEDS doctor who attended the scene of the crash.
“Since Sarah’s tragic death her mum, Jacquie, has supported NWEDS and along with her family and friends raised more than £7,550 for the charity which is incredible.
“Each bag has ‘In memory of Sarah Jepson’ printed on it to remind us of why we do what we do.”