Verity Blackburn

Verity Blackburn

Verity is an anaesthetic doctor in London and a Clinical Lecturer at UCL. Having completed a fellowship in Transfer Medicine she now educates for London's Adult Critical Care Transfer Service


  • Much better to find some things out here than in the heat of the moment! :D

  • We're so happy you enjoyed it!

  • Absolutely - and just because a stretcher *can* take up to 300kg doesn't mean it should! We most often in practice find that using the winch in the ambulance is an absolute must, and making a clear route with enough people to facilitate it were the commonest ways to account for extra width. As the obesity epidemic continues, I suspect we'll only be seeing more...

  • Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, transfers sometimes seem to be the sickest patient, with the most inexperienced staff, at the worst of times! My first transfer was certainly all of those things! We hope this course helps those who find themselves in that position to feel a little better prepared to handle it.

  • @KariStarling Yes, the whole reason we decided to make a course! We really hope you find it helpful for those 3am moments

  • Thanks for this Jane - what happened to the service those anaesthetists would have provided in the hospital that day? Or were they allocated to do that one case only all day?
    Do you think it worked well?

  • I think most clinicians are used to adaptation to a degree - managing to do the best you can, in the face of a problem.
    However, I'll let our former Service Lead, Arndt answer that one!

  • Yes, when I think of our struggle in London I can only imagine what it was like at sites with fewer resources.

  • @CatherineRose This is fantastic! Ties in with elsewhere in the course on transfers in Paeds and Learning Disabilities….who says transfer medicine is serious!

  • Love that. We cover paeds transfers in Week 4 and look forward to hearing your thoughts!

  • That's great to hear your enthusiasm - Weeks 1 and 2 will get you the basics, the knowledge and the safety - but perhaps you will be most interested in Week 3 when we start looking at aero-medical transfers!

  • @NOrton While resources and hierarchy are the reality, ultimately the person - whomever that may be - undertaking the transfer (and therefore the real-time responsibility) has to be comfortable with what they have and how they do it.
    Learning to assert this in the interest of the patient is definitely a skill.

  • @NOrton We've tried to make the principles of transfer applicable across intra, inter, high and low acuity settings - hope you find something helpful and something interesting here!

  • Really hope you enjoy it!

  • @JamesThompson Absolutely as Alexia says - the reason for this course! Hopefully by sharing knowledge it improves the overall situation for everyone.

  • This is exactly the kind of story we love to hear about and commiserate with! Thanks for sharing!

  • The food is you!

  • Not at all - those are all excellent questions! We aimed to give some general information on the challenges faced in extreme weather with this step for those who might not have encountered the idea, and some of the general tips for transferring, but you ask some very interesting questions. We will endeavour to research these and the practical solutions and aim...

  • Do you mean you don't take any extra except that which is already running, even if it won't cover the full journey?

  • Yes, we recently developed and moved onto a computerised system, and as you say, the next step for us too, albeit with a different monitoring device, would be to connect the obs to document wirelessly - saving more time for the clinical care (and in my case reducing motion sickness!).

  • We’re really glad you found it useful! One of the most interesting and continuing aims when we were making this course was to gain a global perspective and find out how things are done in different centres, appreciating there’s always more than one way to do everything! Certainly most things in medicine can benefit from a structure, and you mention a few,...

  • We used the most recent level 1 clinical evidence publicly available on alien physiology when designing these games, Peter! Rest assured.

  • I agree - checklists are one of those things that have the potential to go very quickly from being critically important to mindlessly unhelpful (and at worst a time-consuming distraction). Their design should be undertaken with a lot more care than at first glance seems needed, given how important finding that balance is to their entire purpose.

  • I think that’s really important too - learning how to be fast without being *rushed* keeps everything controlled.

  • Thank you for sharing your difficult experience. This is a really interesting case, exemplifying the critical physics and forces a transfer can involve on the body - more on this in detail in Week 2

  • The course is brand new too, so you’re perfectly matched to enjoy it we hope!

  • Yes - when I was working in NZ there used to be programmes to go out and offer cardiac surgery for a week or two to Pacific islands where otherwise they had to make their way to a centre in a different country. We also had an ECMO retrieval service which could of course retrieve them in an emergency, but you’re right, accessibility remains a global issue.

  • They do! The one thing to be mindful of when using the underneath storage is the direction of the oxygen hose when it's connected to a cylinder - when you're moving the stretcher down it can crush it!

  • This is what I do too - then there's always enough time doing other things inbetween instead of waiting for an ABG!

  • Thanks Alice! All better now!

  • We'd love to hear more about this - how is that arranged? Is it on an ad hoc basis as the need arises and based on what is available at the time?

  • Absolutely - in the depths of COVID sometimes the NIV patient might've been the best candidate given capacity issues, but there's greater freedom again these days to select a more suitable patient

  • Really glad to hear it - we’ve tried to keep it bitesize and digestible!