David started his career as a Consultant Anaesthetist at the Hammersmith Hospital in 1980. Since then, he has contributed to the teaching and science of resuscitation, nationally and internationally. He was a founder member of the Resuscitation Council (UK) and the European Resuscitation Council and has chaired the European Resuscitation Council, ILCOR Task Forces and the BASICs. More recently, he was the Clinical Lead for Emergency Medical Care at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Although now retired, David still undertakes regular operational activities with Thames Valley Air Ambulance. He is also a member of the International Olympic Committee Medical and Scientific Games Group and has co-edited the IOC Manual of Emergency Medical Sports Medicine. His contributions to resuscitation and emergency medical care have been recognised nationally and internationally with many prestigious awards. In 2008 he was honoured by Her Majesty the Queen with the award of Lieutenant in the Royal Victorian Order for his services to the Royal Family.
You’ve had a long and hugely successful career centred in the field of Resuscitation, what are your highlights?
My highlights are:
- The development of a UK standardised basic and advanced life support protocol.
- The recognition of the need for formal standardised training of all healthcare professionals in the UK in basic and advanced life support.
How did you first become involved with the Resuscitation Council (UK)?
In 1979 I returned from a Fellowship in Paediatric Anaesthesia at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada having been trained in basic and advanced life support by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Soon after my return I visited Peter Baskett in Bristol and Douglas Chamberlain in Brighton to propose a plan for the development of a resuscitation programme in the United Kingdom. Within a year we had had the inaugural meeting of the Community Resuscitation Advisory Council (CRAC) in Southampton and in 1982 designed and published a BLS poster with an accompanying pocket sized aide-memoire flipchart. In 1983 CRAC changed its name and became the Resuscitation Council (UK).
You continue to be very active in the field, what keeps you passionate about this?
Having been actively involved with the development of the resuscitation programme in the UK it is difficult not to maintain the highest level of interest and passion for the subject. I truly believe that resuscitation is a fundamental part of clinical medicine with some of my best clinical experiences being during a resuscitation event.
What most interests you about the current developments in the resuscitation field?
I am a strong believer in the development of strong clinical guidelines based on good scientific evidence. The advances in the resuscitation consensus process over recent years is key to the future of clinical resuscitation practice and research.
What, if any changes would you like to see in the next set of UK Resuscitation Guidelines (2020)?
A way of teaching rescuers to recognise that agonal respiration is not normal breathing thereby not delaying the commencement of basic life support.
What’s the best piece of advice you give?
Call for help early. Do not wait for cardiac arrest to occur.