Doctors intercept ambulance to give advanced care to patient en route to A&E

MARSmerit 4

Saturday 7th November 2015 – 7.40am – Claire Brown.

A man, who remains in a serious condition following an RTC, had not one but two doctors jump on board the ambulance taking him to hospital to provide advanced trauma care along the way.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to reports of a two car RTC on the A49 in Much Birch, Hereford shortly before 9.30pm last night (Friday). Two ambulances and a paramedic area support officer were first to the scene. A BASICS doctor from Mercia Accident Rescue Service (MARS) and a MERIT trauma doctor and critical care paramedic met the ambulance crew whilst en route to A&E.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Two cars had been involved in a significant collision. A man and woman from one car had managed to get out of their vehicle and were said to be ‘walking wounded’ whilst the single occupant of the second car was still inside and in a bad way.

“Ambulance staff and firefighters on scene quickly pulled the man from the wreckage as a quick assessment found he was unconscious and in need of immediate medical intervention. He had sustained a serious head injury and a pelvic injury and was transferred to the back of the ambulance so that crews could begin a range of treatment before heading to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham on blue lights and sirens.

“Two doctors had already been requested to meet the ambulance at different stages of their journey due to the man’s condition. The MARS doctor jumped on board the ambulance first, about a mile and a half into the journey, and sedated the man in order to try to stabilise his condition.

“Once more stable, the ambulance crew and doctor continued to hospital and were met at the half way point by the MERIT doctor and critical care paramedic.

“At this point the man had deteriorated further and the team administered advanced medical treatment in the back of the ambulance. The doctors swapped over so that the crew and MERIT could finish the last leg of the journey to A&E where, upon arrival, the man’s condition remained serious.

“In contrast, the two occupants of the second car suffered minor injuries and were taken to Hereford County Hospital.

“This case highlights the innovative work of the ambulance service providing advanced trauma care to patients in a pre-hospital environment when they need it the most.”



  1. Two queries:

    1. Is this a common practice to intercept whilst en route? is there any evidence supporting increased positive patient outcomes? How effective are the advanced treatments when performed in the back of the moving ambulance? Are they limited to specific interventions whilst in transit or did the crews stop for X minutes to perform the intervention before continuing on?

    2. What does MERIT stand for?

    1. Hi Robbo…in order:
      Certainly not uncommon to intercept if the doctor didn’t get to scene
      Lots of international evidence to say that providing this sort of care in a pre-hospital setting are very worthwhile and even life saving
      Some of the procedures are carried out while the vehicle is stationary e.g. Anaesthetising the patient, it will depend on the procedure.
      It is thought that about 55 lives were saved in the first year of the major trauma network with the same number having s much enhanced quality of life.
      MERIT – major emergency response intervention team
      Hope that helps

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