New mattresses in ambulances improve support for spinal injuries

BALLARAT’S ambulances are now fitted with vacuum immobilisation mattresses for patients with spinal injuries thanks to a $9000 donation from the Rotary Club of Ballarat South. 

Paramedic Glen Collishaw and Ballarat South Rotary Club member Andrew Pipkorn.

Paramedic Glen Collishaw and Ballarat South Rotary Club member Andrew Pipkorn.

The vac mats aren’t standard Ambulance Victoria equipment, but the value of the equipment is recognised by paramedics. 

Sebastopol paramedic Glen Collishaw said the mats primarily provided spinal immobilisation for potential or confirmed spinal injuries, offering optimum support. 

The mat deflates and wraps around the patient’s body, restricting movement. 

Paramedic Graham McGrath said before the vac mat, patients with spinal injuries were placed on a rigid fibreglass spine board, which was less comfortable and heightened risk of further damage to the patient’s spine. 

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