CRITICAL are delighted to have launched their new fleet of rapid response cars. The charity provides their teams of critical and advanced care doctors with four wheel drive vehicles to ensure they can get to the scene of emergencies quickly and safely.

The charity currently has a network of 10 doctors and consultants in emergency medicine who volunteer to respond to serious and life-threatening incidents and illnesses in their areas. These doctors are based in counties Waterford, Wicklow, Kerry, Mayo, Donegal and Dublin. 

The Skoda Kodiaq was chosen by CRITICAL for its road safety and the security it gives the emergency responders. The cars have been customised with ambulance style livery and class 1 emergency lighting. The rear boot of each car has been redesigned to hold and charge the necessary medical equipment our medical volunteers need to help them to save lives.

Waterford based Dr Paul Campbell and Dr Daragh Mathews have now received the new cars. The pair have responded to 151 taskings between them since July 2023.  These include cardiac arrests, road traffic collisions and farm accidents.  

Dr Paul Campbell joined the charity last year.  The Tyrone native has been working as a GP in Waterford City since 2012 and also recently completed a Masters in Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine from UCD.  Dr Daragh Mathews joined CRITICAL in 2021.  He is a Specialist Registrar in Emergency Medicine at University Hospital Waterford. 

Pictured here are Dr Daragh Mathews; Edward Walsh, CRITICAL Head of Operations; and Dr Paul Campbell, during the handover of the new emergency vehicles. Photos: Mary Browne

David Tighe, CEO of CRITICAL said, “Our responders are providing a valuable service and we need to ensure that they are able to arrive at the scene of an incident quickly and safely.  The new vehicles that we have chosen have been designed to the highest standard and give additional security to our responders.  The rear boot has been fully customised to hold all the medical equipment that may be required while keeping everything on charge so it’s ready at a moment’s notice. It is thanks to donations from members of the public, corporate donations and community fundraisers that we are able to upgrade our vehicles and equipment so that our doctors and responders from Waterford and across the country are able to make a difference when it matters most.”

Dr Paul Campbell added, “Every minute counts when someone suffers a trauma or suddenly falls seriously ill. The new cars are very impressive; our medical equipment is now easier to find and there is no risk of batteries failing. We now have top of the range defibrillators that can be used in confined spaces and allow us to monitor or shock a patient from up to 10 metres away. Cardiac arrests, chest pain and strokes are very common calls for us as are road traffic collisions. However, since last year I’ve been able to attend multiple trauma cases, falls from heights, farming incidents and even dog attacks. It is important for me to be able to give back to my local community in Dunmore East, Waterford City and surrounding areas, volunteering with CRITICAL allows me to do that and is very rewarding.”

The running costs of Dr Campbell’s emergency vehicle, pictured left, will continue to be sponsored by the local Centra store in Dunmore East, in memory of local woman Susan O’Donoghue who was assisted by the service in August 2023.