Stabilisation prior to departure

Prior to departure, the team leader must ensure that the patient's airway, breathing and circulation have been stabilised. Experienced personnel must be available to ensure that the patient transfer is well co-ordinated and managed.

Table 12.4 Chest X-ray assessment.


• Pneumothorax or haemothorax

• Pulmonary oedema

• Pleural effusion


• Size and shape will assist diagnosis of heart



• Rib fractures

Tubes and lines inserted

• ET tube

during resuscitation

• Central venous line

• Nasogastric tube

• Temporary pacing wire

Patient transfer is a dangerous time for a number of reasons:

• less support available from experienced colleagues;

• poor working environment, space and light;

• movement may displace tubes and lines;

• often less equipment, only limited amount can be carried;

• if something breaks or oxygen runs out, difficult to replace;

• it may not have been possible to completely stabilise airway, breathing and circulation.

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