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The Russell Chest Seal Testimonial

Report from London Ambulance Service Paramedic Charlie Till

“Around 23:00 on a Sunday evening a 17 year old boy was attacked and stabbed repeatedly in what was thought to be a gang related incident. On arrival of the first ambulance there was already a large police presence at the scene. Four police officers were around the patient who was lying on the pavement. He was in obvious respiratory distress and appeared notably fatigued. The police had identified two significant penetrating chest injuries, one located on each side of the patient’s back, anatomically located over the lower lung fields. Both were sucking chest wounds that were visibly bleeding/bubbling/sucking in sync with the patient’s breathing. These wounds were being covered by normal wound dressings that a police officer was holding in place. The patient also had several minor lacerations across his posterior torso and a significant thigh wound located at the cleft between the upper thigh and left buttocks which was copiously oozing what appeared to be venous blood.

Whilst the ambulance technician gave the patient high flow oxygen and got the ambulance trolley from the vehicle. The paramedic applied a Russell Chest Seal to each of the two significant chest injuries. The other minor lacerations were covered with Nightingale Dressings cut to size. The thigh wound was packed and dressed using an Olaes modular bandage.

The time on scene from first ambulance arrival to patient leaving en route to a major trauma centre was eight minutes.

I was the first paramedic on scene and I applied both Russell Chest Seals. The packaging was easy to open. Peeling back the dressing covering and applying the dressing over the wound site was easy due to the transparent nature of the chest seal. The hydrogel on the dressing allowed it to adhere securely over the wound site despite the blood on the surrounding skin. If the Russell Chest Seal had not been available then an improvised dressing would have been necessary to cover the wound. This would not have been so fast to apply and would not have been as secure once applied. The Russell Chest Seal allowed the clinicians on scene to treat the wound and move onto other aspects of patient care rapidly.

I am positive that without this equipment, the on scene time and thus the time to definitive care, critically important for this patient, would have been delayed.”