Road crash woman saved
A REVOLUTIONARY medical technique devised by a former Huddersfield man could save lives across the world.
Dr Andrew Mason, son of former Kirklees Mayor Alastair Mason, said the new airway device - which has been praised in a court case - could provide vital help within seconds of doctors arriving on the scene.
It has already worked in the case of a woman badly hurt in a crash.
Now, Dr Mason, who lives in Suffolk, is using the technique in his work and trying to encourage other medics to do the same.
He serves on the emergency team at racecourses including Newmarket, Huntingdon and Fakenham, in case jockeys get hurt.
He and his team follow the horses in races, often at speeds approaching 50mph.
But it was in a 30-year career working with paramedics that he realised how vital the airway equipment could be.
Dr Mason is one of the few people in the world using the Intubating Laryngeal Mask Airway, a device aimed at rapidly restoring oxygen flow to the body and dramatically cutting the chance of brain damage.
His work was hailed at London's High Court as a panel of judges ruled in a £2.25m compensation case involving a Mrs Joan Goldsmith, 62, from Great Barton, near Bury St Edmunds.
They put her survival - despite catastrophic injuries - down to Dr Mason's roadside intervention.
Dr Mason, who lives in Norton, near Bury St Edmunds, said he hoped the new 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.
"It enables the rescuer to resuscitate them rapidly, even in the dark, when you can't see the casualty. You can insert the device by feel alone and secure the airway while the casualty is still trapped."
Dr Mason, who worked for the Suffolk Accident Rescue Service for almost 30 years, added: "The device positions a mask which is then blown up against the back of the larynx or voice box. The mask creates a seal and an airway is established.
"Once initial resuscitation has been achieved, the device facilitates seamless progression to tracheal intubation – the `gold standard' of airway management."
He said the device was used in a handful of hospitals, but added: "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 prevent unnecessary disability."
Dr Mason was born and brought up in Kirkburton, where his mother, Grace, still lives.
His father was Mayor of Kirklees in 1976/77.
Dr Mason went to Kirkburton Primary School and then Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Wakefield.
He received the Queen's Jubilee Medal in 2000.