Parademics in an ambulance

Mathematical model can help paramedics treat injuries on-site

Image credit: Coventry University

Coventry University research could hand life-saving boost to paramedics treating pedestrian casualties

Coventry University has developed a model to help paramedics save lives.

A team of researchers has created a detailed database of pedestrian injuries which, used alongside a new mathematical model, can produce first-hand virtual CT scans from simple photographs of a patient’s injuries and the vehicle involved. The resulting data could provide paramedics with crucial and potentially life-saving assistance when treating pedestrians hurt in road accidents. 

Virtual CT scans of the body can inform paramedics, in seconds, about the victim’s potential internal injuries, enabling the correct treatment at the scene. The information could also be sent to a hospital, speeding up triage and improving treatment on arrival at accident and emergency units. 

“The mathematical model, with the help of basic photography, essentially reverse-engineers pedestrian collisions, which through our framework can then provide paramedics with key information on potential injuries they usually would not have access to whilst responding to an incident on-scene,” said Dr Christophe Bastien, associate professor at Coventry University’s Centre for Future Transport and Cities.

Model of a human

Model by Coventry University

Image credit: Coventry University

Bastien’s team is developing the Forensic Pedestrian Trauma Database (FPTD) in conjunction with University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) supported by funding from The Road Safety Trust. The virtual CT scans have been developed and validated using the Total Human Model for Safety devised by the Toyota Motor Corporation.

The project has won the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award which recognises outstanding achievement and innovation in worldwide road safety improvement. 

“We’re optimistic about the potential of such crucial assistance to help paramedics save the lives and improve the treatment of pedestrians who have been involved in traffic collisions and incidents,” Bastien said. “In the long term, we’re very hopeful that we can develop our detailed framework into something that can be rolled out within the NHS and to health care services around the world." 

Model of a car accident

Model of an accident /Coventry University

Image credit: Coventry University

Gary Gilkes, who has worked in the ambulance service for the last ten years as a paramedic as well as lecturing at universities across the UK, is optimistic about the potential of this technology to transform the ambulance service and improve patient outcomes.  

“It’s unquestionable that speed in terms of the speed of getting patients into hospitals and starting treatment saves lives – the quicker we can do that the better chance the patient has," he said.  

“There’s no doubt in my mind that this research and this framework will certainly improve the speed in which clinicians can triage injury patterns to be able to update hospitals so they can prepare treatment packages and we can start early interventions treatment on scene so these injuries don’t cause life-changing scenarios or conditions.” 

The team is currently looking to secure funding to continue the development of the FPTD, with a view to continuing supporting hospitals, ambulance services, transport forensics and the police.

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