Doctor's medical breakthrough praised

A REVOLUTIONARY medical technique used on a pensioner who suffered terrible injuries in a car crash could save lives across the world, it has been claimed.

A REVOLUTIONARY medical technique used on a pensioner who suffered terrible injuries in a car crash could save lives across the world, it has been claimed.

Dr Andrew Mason said his ground-breaking technique - praised by High Court judges yesterday as bringing about “nothing short of a miracle” for 62-year-old accident survivor Joan Goldsmith - could provide crucial help for victims within seconds of doctors arriving on scene.

The Suffolk-based doctor is one of the only people in the world using the Intubating Laryngeal Mask Airway (ILMA) - a resuscitation device aimed at rapidly restoring oxygen flow to the body to dramatically cutting the chances of brain damage.

His work was hailed at London's High Court as a panel of judges ruled on a £2.25 million compensation for Mrs Goldsmith, from Great Barton, near Bury St Edmunds. They put her survival - despite catastrophic injuries - down to Dr Mason's roadside intervention.

The mother-of-three was awarded the damages after she was left severely brain damaged and wheelchair-bound following the head-on car crash in September 2001.

Mrs Goldsmith's lawyers praised Dr Mason's “heroic and revolutionary treatment” as she lay trapped in her vehicle and said this probably led to Mrs Goldsmith's survival.

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Dr Mason, who lives in Norton, near Bury, said he now hoped the innovative method of getting oxygen to a patient could become standard practice in road crashes and disaster zones.

“It could be used in earthquake zones where rescuers can't even see the casualty. In so many situations, individuals die because they are not getting enough oxygen to the brain - but this device secures the airway very quickly and gets oxygen levels rapidly back to normal,” he told the EADT.

“The ILMA enables a doctor to reach them, even if necessary, in the dark when you can't actually see the injured.”

“You can feel the position of the tube and secure the airwave while he or she is still trapped. In so many situations, individuals die because they are not getting enough oxygen to the brain.”

Explaining how the resuscitation method works, Dr Mason, who worked for the Suffolk Accident Rescue Service for almost 30 years, said: “It is a device which forms a mask you blow up around the back of the larynx - the voice box - which passes into and then seals the airwaves.

“This enables us to pass a conventional tracheal tube blindly. It is completely different, a totally new approach to the problem.

“The traditional means of passing a tube requires quite a lot of preparation, use of powerful drugs and direct vision of the voice box. With the ILMA, no neck movement is required and insertion can be performed blindly and rapidly within 20 seconds.”

Now Dr Mason is preparing to publish a paper on his findings and hopes to introduce the device to far wider use.

He said similar techniques are currently used in a handful of hospitals and added: “What was said in court was very interesting as I had been ploughing a lonely furrow for many years and it is nice to be recognised.

“It has been an uphill battle and I have not always seen eye-to-eye with some of my colleagues over my theories although they have always been supportive.

“I hope this can act as a way forward and encourage others to take up the treatment. I hope it will save a lot of lives and save people from an unnecessary disability.”

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