Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance’s surgical skills training day is an annual day for the whole clinical team and includes recertification for the critical care practitioners.

Surgical skills are thankfully a relatively infrequent skill used, so it's important that the entire team are competent for when they might be faced with a patient requiring intervention. The most common surgical skill that our team undertake is a simple digital thoracostomy in suspected tension pneumothorax. This involves making a small incision through the chest wall in which a finger is passed to release air under tension with the aim to re-inflate the lung. Other surgical skills include amputation, front of neck surgical airway, lateral canthotomy and cantholysis, whilst also resuscitative surgeries including thoracotomy and hysterotomy.

Our surgical skills training day was held in November and included skill stations, scenarios, group discussions and presentations. This year we were lucky enough to have a face-to-face presentation by Miss Tracy Appleyard, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The discussion involved indications and decision making for resuscitative hysterotomy. With the use of mannequins, Tracy demonstrated the best technique to remove a baby in a hurry and subsequently, the team were able to practice.

Dr Mo Al-Ghomy is a maxillofacial surgeon who talked to the team about the indications and practical tips for surgically reducing pressure behind the eyeball with orbital trauma which may cause blindness.

A very big thanks to everyone involved with organising the day and for making it such a success!