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Last Updated: Friday, 5 October 2007, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
Paramedic's life-saving invention
Resqroll
Resqroll has already been trialled by ambulance crews in Scotland
A Dundee paramedic has designed a pioneering device which could help save the lives of road accident victims.

Resqroll can be used by medics to remove patients with potential spinal injuries from wreckage.

It is hoped the device will get patients to hospital more quickly, without causing any further damage to their spines.

The specialist equipment was developed by Brian Carlin and has been trialled by ambulance crews in Scotland.

It has also been endorsed by senior figures in the medical profession.

Resqroll consists of a neck support, a head and body support and an adult knee lift.

Spinal board

It is made of latex rubber and specialist mesh-strengthening material, and wraps around the body, becoming rigid during lifting, supporting the spine.

Unlike current equipment, the patient's head does not have to be manually supported while they are turned on to a spinal board - a practice which can increase the risk of further spinal damage.

The device also allows crews to remove people from a vehicle or confined space in the position in which they are found.

Some of the guidelines say it is quite acceptable to take risks with the spine to save lives, but then imagine being an 18-year-old and being told you are going to be a paraplegic for the rest of your life
Brian Carlin

Mr Carlin, 39, a paramedic and clinical educator with NHS Education for Scotland (NES), first came up with the idea for Resqroll five years ago.

He has designed it with the help of textile company Lojigma International Ltd, at a cost of about 25,000.

They are now investigating whether the Resqroll can be supplied to ambulance teams across the country.

Mr Carlin said it was ethical rather than business-motivated reasons that lay behind his invention.

He said: "When you have these time-critical casualties who have to be removed quickly you often have to improvise and just get them out as best you can.

"Some of the guidelines say it is quite acceptable to take risks with the spine to save lives, but then imagine being an 18-year-old and being told you are going to be a paraplegic for the rest of your life."

Patient care

Mr Carlin was given a 10,000 grant for his project from the government-funded National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta).

The remaining 15,000 was self-funded.

He added: "My ultimate aim is to get Resqroll incorporated into medical guidelines.

"At the end of the day it is all about improving patient care."

Resqroll has been endorsed by senior consultants and surgeons at the National Spinal Unit in Glasgow.

James Ferguson, a consultant in emergency medicine at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, said: "This is a good, innovative-thinking and robust piece of kit.

"It is another piece of armament that we can use to help our patients get the best care possible."

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