9 Oct 2014

After 11 years of pursuing this goal, Dr Kate Crewdson joined London’s Air Ambulance. “I remember standing at the helipad and hearing the aircraft take off for a mission. It was very emotional. I recall thinking : I have done it. I am here,” says Kate. As her secondment at London’s Air Ambulance comes to an end, she reflects on the experience itself as well as the journey that preceded it. “It was definitely a life-long dream coming true. I have learned more in 6 months with London’s Air Ambulance than in 6 years of qualifying as a doctor.”

Having been involved with London’s Air Ambulance for more than a decade and being a name associated with its published research, Kate certainly felt the pressure. London’s Air Ambulance is a unique system that treats the patients to the standards of the intensive care unit at the roadside. For most doctors, the secondment with London’s Air Ambulance will inevitably be the first and only experience of its kind, no matter how senior they are. 

“I was working hard all these years and believing in this system [of treating critically injured people at the roadside when minutes are vital for their survival and recovery]. I knew the theory but had not had a chance to put it into practice. It is very different working outside the hospital and performing some of the major procedures that London’s Air Ambulance takes to the roadside in that environment. In pre-hospital care, you have to make big decisions very quickly. It’s a life changing career.”

“You can’t do this job until you are quite senior. After my first experience with London’s Air Ambulance in 2003 when I came as a medical student, the consultants [at London’s Air Ambulance] were instrumental in steering me towards critical care as a career path. I applied for a medical elective a year later and started participating in research on traumatic cardiac arrest. The outcome was published in 2006. In the same year, I became involved in organising the annual London Trauma Conference.”

“I am so proud to have done it and to have been a part of such a great team and highly professional organisation. London’s Air Ambulance is a unique set up. You are constantly working with people who genuinely believe in what they are doing. As well as a love of prehospital care, I enjoy the research aspect of the job and hope to continue to pursue both of these in my ongoing career."