Dr Simon Le Clerc

Dr Simon Le Clerc

A flying doctor involved in rescues of stricken outdoor enthusiasts is jetting across the Atlantic to investigate a lifesaving treatment.

Dr Simon Le Clerc, a consultant in emergency medicine who works for the Great North Air Ambulance Service, hopes procedures pioneered in the US Army could be adopted and utilised on patients across the North-East, North Yorkshire and Cumbria.

The consultant regularly treats walkers, climbers, mountain bikers and others involved in incidents on the mountains and in the countryside of northern England.

He will travel to the USA and Canada to look at the treatment of non-compressible haemorrhage, internal bleeding that cannot currently be stopped outside of the operating theatre.

Dr Le Clerc, medical director at GNAAS, said: “It will certainly be interesting, but we are hoping it will bring significant benefit to our patients.

“This could be very important. It’s a clinical gap at the moment around the world. Internal bleeding is one of the most serious issues facing a trauma patient out in the field. This advancement could stop that bleeding before they get to hospital.

“The quicker we can stop someone bleeding, the better chance they have at surviving their injuries.

“It works alongside other developments GNAAS has adopted, including the use of blood transfusions and tranexamic acid, TXA, which both treat blood loss and which are both already saving lives in the region.”

The trip has been made possible by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, which has awarded Dr Le Clerc a Churchill Travelling Fellowship. The six-week trip will involve coast-to-coast travel as Dr Le Clerc, from Stockton-on-Tees, visits research facilities across North America.

Mr Le Clerc is one of 5,250 British men and women to have been awarded Churchill Fellowships since 1965, out of more than 100,000 applicants.

The scheme was approved by Sir Winston Churchill, who before his death in 1965 indicated a desire not to have another statue in his memory but instead a living legacy to benefit future generations.

Julia Weston, chief executive at the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, said: “Churchill Fellows travel globally and return with innovative ideas and a commitment to sharing their findings to help others in the UK.”

The helicopters of the GNAAS charity operate from two bases and after often called upon to help support mountain rescue teams in treating and airlifting injured people from the mountains and hills of the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and Pennines. The organisation needs to raise £4.5m each year to carry out its work.

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