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Prehospital lateral canthotomy
  1. Christopher Hill,
  2. Cliff Reid,
  3. Alex Tzannes,
  4. Brian Burns,
  5. Mark Bartlett
  1. Sydney Rescue Helicopter Base Bankstown Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christopher Hill, Sydney Rescue Helicopter Base Bankstown Hospital, Drover Road, Sydney, NSW 2200, Australia; cjhill{at}

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We present the case of a 21-year-old patient who required a prehospital lateral canthotomy following a penetrating injury to the head. This, the first recorded prehospital case, highlights the importance of this simple, potentially sight saving procedure and why it should be in the armamentarium of all prehospital emergency physicians.


Our patient was treated by the physician staffed Greater Sydney Area Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (GSA-HEMS) from its satellite base 100 km South of Sydney, Australia. GSA-HEMS covers the state of New South Wales providing medical teams for prehospital trauma response and interhospital critical care retrieval.

Case report

A GSA-HEMS medical team was called to the home of a previously healthy 21-year-old female subject who had reportedly been shot. On arrival, the team found the patient lying in the front room of …

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  • All work for the Greater Sydney Area Helicopter Emergency Medical Service.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by Ethics Committee Royal Prince Alfred Zone - Sydney. This is the ethics committee used by the Ambulance service of NSW.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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