By: 17 October 2012

Honourary Membership award winner, Dr David Zideman

The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) has awarded an Honorary Membership to the Clinical Lead for Emergency Medical Services of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Dr David Zideman, to reflect his highly distinguished career in the fields of anaesthesiology and emergency care. Dr Zideman will receive his award at this week’s AAGBI Annual Congress in Bournemouth.

AAGBI Honorary Secretary Dr Andrew Hartle said: “This award is one of the AAGBI’s highest honours and recognises David Zideman’s substantial contributions to anaesthesia, emergency care, resuscitation and the success of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. He has played and continues to play an important part in UK medicine and is a worthy recipient of this honour”.

Zideman, a consultant anaesthetist with more than three decades of experience, was appointed to one of the most senior medical positions of the Olympics:  Clinical Lead Emergency Medical Care for the 2012 London Games. Working with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), Zideman was responsible for setting up the emergency care system for all athletes, officials, the Olympic and Paralympic families and spectators (estimated at over 200,000 per day in Olympic Park alone) at all Olympic and Paralympic venues. This involved being part of a team who recruited more than 4000 medical volunteers (2000 volunteers in the emergency medical teams) from all parts of the health service. “I planned an emergency medical service that included the recruitment of volunteers, the selection and provision of equipment, and undertook the training of all our volunteer staff,” says Zideman. He had to carefully match the professional skills of his team members to each individual sport, to ensure an effective and efficient service, for example, in the boxing arena compared with swimming at the Aquatics Centre. “It was all about having the best possible system for optimising pre-hospital care for anyone in an Olympic or Paralympic venue who became seriously ill or was injured,” he adds.

During the Games Zideman would visit up to four venues per day, and would participate and provide clinical support and advice to his volunteer teams.

“Working for LOCOG at the Olympic and Paralympic Games was a unique experience that has been the pinnacle of my work in pre-hospital medical care. It was a great pleasure providing the structure for our tremendous emergency medical volunteer teams,” says Zideman. “I’m delighted to report that across the entire Olympic and Paralympic games, we did not have to perform a single general anaesthetic or emergency tracheal intubation.”

Zideman adds that the comprehensive training system for volunteers was an essential element in the training. “The very simple message is that our system worked thanks to our trained volunteers.  Each volunteer received around 18-20 hours training in total. This included teams arriving before their shifts and practicing various scenarios thereby familiarising themselves with the venue and pieces of equipment they might not be familiar with. Most importantly it ensured that they got used to working as a team with other volunteers who might change on a daily basis.” He hopes that the lessons learnt from London 2012 will be carried forward to the Olympics in Sochi and Rio.

Zideman was a consultant anaesthetist at Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, from 1980 to 2010, when he retired from the UK’s National Health Service, although he still works in an honorary capacity for the Trust. He has been an honorary senior lecturer at the University of London since 1981 and was Chief of Service for Anaesthesia at the Hammersmith from 1995 until 2008. His services to the Royal Family, as a Queen’s Honorary Physician, were recognised by an award (Lieutenant in the Royal Victorian Order (LVO)) in the 2008 Queen’s Birthday Honours list. In 2012 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians, London.

He was also a founding member of the Resuscitation Council (United Kingdom) and served as chair of the European Resuscitation Council from 2004 to 2008. He has been a member of the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) since 1994 and has been its Treasurer since 2002. He also chaired the British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS) from 2003 to 2009. This organisation plays a fundamental role in the provision of pre-hospital resuscitation and trauma care in the UK. As a volunteer, he regularly undertakes pre-hospital medical shifts for London BASICS, the London Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) and the East Anglia Air Ambulance.

Zideman is a renowned lecturer in great demand all over the world, and has published more than 100 scientific papers and book chapters, mostly in the fields of resuscitation and pre-hospital care. He has been on the editorial board of the journal Resuscitation for many years.