Dr David Menzies: Motorcycling Ireland (MCI) Medical Team
Dr David Menzies
Dr David Menzies FRCEM, Dip Med Tox, DMMD, Dip IMC (RCSEd) is a Consultant in Emergency Medicine, St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin.
He is also the Clinical Lead for Emergency Medical Science, University College Dublin, Centre for Emergency Medical Science. He is the Chair of CFR Ireland and the Medical Director for Wicklow Community First Responders and also the Medical Director for Motorcycling Ireland (MCI) Medical Team.
Dr David Menzies – Motorsports Safety
Ireland is one of the few places in the world, which permits motorcycle racing on closed public roads. North and south in the summer months, the weekends are filled with the sound of superbikes and the smell of two-stroke oil. Motorcycle road racing in Ireland is a unique sport, only eclipsed perhaps by the Isle of Man or Czech TTs. It is exciting, exhilarating and unfortunately dangerous. The closed public roads offer challenges such as walls, trees and ditches. As a consequence there is a need to be able to manage the traumatic injuries, which inevitably occur.
The Motorcycling Ireland (MCI) Medical Team covers the road races in the south of Ireland. I was inveigled into this operation as an unsuspecting registrar in Emergency Medicine in 2007 and was impressed by both the sport and the medical response. Both have evolved significantly since then.
I am now the medical director of this unique team, which provides the highest level of pre hospital trauma care available on this island. With ultra fast response times, measured in seconds to minutes, we operate not within the ‘Golden Hour’ or even the ‘Platinum 10 minutes’ but those precious moments immediately after an injury when the human body is most vulnerable and where advanced medical interventions can be life saving.
We operate a twin rapid response car response to all race incidents supported by travelling marshals and medics on bikes. This ultra fast response means that within seconds to minutes of a major trauma, riders are receiving medical attention. The team comprises doctors, nurses, paramedics and advanced paramedics who train together to provide an advanced level of care normally associated with Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) internationally. The response vehicles are equipped as mobile resuscitation units and allow us to deliver interventions such as general anaesthesia and roadside surgery where needed.
We also use an Emergency Medical Controller on the team to coordinate on site resources and, where needed aeromedical support from either Medevac112 or the Irish Coast Guard. Backed up by our colleagues in the statutory and voluntary ambulance services, the MCI medical team is able to deliver medical care, which would otherwise have to be delayed until arrival at hospital. We have seen many riders survive severe injuries, which would normally be associated with a high degree of mortality.
The MCI Medical Team is uniquely multidisciplinary. The members have day jobs with the National Ambulance Service, Dublin Fire Brigade and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service. Coming together voluntarily to train and provide medical cover, the team is in a position to take the knowledge and skills attained back to their respective services.
Being part of the MCI Medical Team allows me to use my Emergency Medicine training in an arena where, if we had to wait for the patient to reach hospital, it might be too late. While it is true that this level of care is not routinely available outside of the racing circuit, this is changing with the establishment of organisations such as Wicklow Rapid Response and East & West Cork Rapid Response, which aim to take the same level of care into the civilian setting. In time Ireland will surely be able to deliver this level of care more widely but in the interim it is important that we continue to improve on the level of care we can offer.
The late Dr John Hinds, a friend and colleague, was a member of both the Ulster and Southern Medical Teams. Tragically John died on the 4th of July 2015 while providing medical cover at the Skerries road races. John’s death is a huge loss to the medical community and to both teams but his work lives on. John wanted us all to “be the best at this” and that is what we strive to do.
Dr David Menzies