16 July 2014
A smartphone app has been developed that aims to help doctors improve patient survival rates during medical emergencies.
The GoodSAM app intends to alert those with medical training to nearby emergencies so that potentially life-saving interventions can be given before the arrival of emergency services.
The brainchild of consultant neurosurgeon Mark Wilson, the app enables those with medical training, from doctors and nurses to people with first-aid qualifications, to register as responders.
The service works in a similar way to the Hailo taxi service app. Once an alert has been raised, registered responders located to within a few hundred metres of the incident are alerted and asked if they can attend.
Mr Wilson, who also serves with the London Air Ambulance, devised the idea after witnessing the impact of brain apnoea and subsequent hypoxia on emergency patients.
He said: ‘Wherever you are in London, the chances are that you are within a couple of hundred metres of someone capable of keeping your airways open
‘We would like to be up to the point where every 200 to 300 metres there is a responder.’
Members of the public can download a linked app and, should they witness an incident, can raise the alarm.
Users are asked if the situation they have encountered is a medical emergency.
If they click yes, a call is immediately made to 999 services, while nearby responders are alerted and asked if they are able to attend.
Mr Wilson stressed the app was not a substitute for the emergency services, but aimed to bridge the crucial seconds and minutes following a medical emergency but before the arrival of an ambulance.
He said: ‘It must not be seen as a replacement for the emergency services; it is really just about giving people a better chance for survival due to early intervention.’
Doctors who respond to a situation using the app will be performing a ‘Good Samaritan act’. Doctors are advised to ensure they have medical indemnity.
Following its launch, GoodSAM has already seen close to 1,000 people registering with the service in the London.
The app has also generated interest in other parts of the UK and overseas, including from the Republic of Ireland to the USA.
Find out more about the app