Abu Dhabi: The first person to witness a Formula One-related incident in real time on a video monitor located in a race control room will be the doctor in charge of the medical team during the F1 race.
Dr Sean Petherbridge, the doctor in charge and Chief Medical Officer at the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE Motorcycle Club, spoke about the medical team response time during a medical conference at Abu Dhabi Medical Congress 2009 titled Formula One: the integrated motor sport medical team.
"The second there's an incident, an FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) is deployed from the main pit lane, the nearest medical team in an FIV (Fast Intervention Vehicle) is dispatched to the scene and the driver is either sent to the medical centre via ambulance or airlifted via helicopter if in critical condition," he said.
There will be 15 ambulance cars at the racing circuit, all belonging to the Abu Dhabi Police.
"It shouldn't take more than 30 seconds to a minute for the ambulance to reach the medical centre and only five minutes to assess and stabilise the patient's condition once the patient reaches the centre," explained Petherbridge.
The Shaikh Khalifa Medical City will be the primary scene for drivers who are in serious and/or critical medical conditions.
"It will take between 10 to 20 minutes for the patient to be airlifted to the hospital," Petherbridge said.
Extracting the driver from the car is a critical procedure that should not take more than two minutes. The rapid extraction procedure requires four people to carefully un-strap the driver and get him out of his seat within two minutes. However, if the vehicle is on fire, it requires two people to lift the driver out of the vehicle in less than a minute.
There will be a total of 47 doctors on the scene, who will be equally responsible for assisting patients in a specified time span.
"The time it takes for a doctor to reach the scene shouldn't exceed 30 seconds. Once extracted from the vehicle, the injured driver is immediately transferred via ambulance to the clinic within 30 seconds to one minute. Assessing the patient's case and getting him in a stable condition shouldn't exceed five minutes," said Petherbridge, who added that in the past 19 years, only one person died in an accident during the UAE Desert Challenge.