Midlands Air Ambulance doctor condemns laser pointer

Wednesday 13th August 2014 – 9am – Chris Kowalik.

A trauma doctor has spoken of his anger after a laser beam was pointed at the air ambulance he was in as they flew an injured van driver to hospital.

Trauma Doctor and Clinical Lead for the Midlands Air Ambulance Nick Crombie, who was on a night shift with the MERIT trauma team with West Midlands Ambulance Service on the night of Monday 11th August, was accompanying the aircrew of the Midlands Air Ambulance from Staffordshire with the injured man after a road traffic collision on the A429 near Ettington (press release entitled “FIVE INJURED ON A429” issued at 10pm on Monday 11th August refers).

They were flying him to University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire when they noticed the beam following their craft.

Nick Crombie 1

Nick said: “We had been to a car crash that left five people injured. Even though it was quite late and dark, we were still able to fly the most seriously injured to hospital.

“As we flew over Warwick at a height of more than 1,200ft, a laser was pointed at the aircraft.

“Fortunately for us, the pilot is highly experienced and dealt with it. But, had the laser caught anyone’s eye albeit briefly, it can lead to blindness for at least ten minutes and a loss of spatial awareness.

“Had we not taken action and avoided being been dazzled, it would have prevented us landing until the visual effects had settled, delaying treatment of the casualty. It has the same effect as deliberately slowing down an ambulance en-route to hospital.

“If we can find whoever is responsible, we will seek to have them prosecuted.”


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