The Williams Formula 1 team has been assisting the neonatal unit at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, by bringing Formula 1 pit stop knowledge to help the resuscitation of newborn babies.
After recognising the resemblance between neonatal resuscitations and Formula 1 pit stops, the resuscitation team at UHW invited Williams F1 to the hospital last year to explore the similarities Formula 1 pit stops have, so that they could incorporate new techniques into their work.
Last week, it was the university’s turn to visit the Williams factory in Oxfordshire to observe team practice and how they operate during their pit stops.
Both scenarios require a team of people working faultlessly in a space-limited environment while trying to beat the clock. Williams has so far been the standout performers of pit stops this season, clocking the fastest pit stop times at each race this season, regularly servicing Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas in just over two seconds.
Williams has a dedicated human performance specialist who works with the pit crew to perfect their technic, process, teamwork and the health and fitness of the team members.
Following the visits, the neonatal team has identified and implemented changes to its operating procedures. The resuscitation trolley has now been audited and streamlined to ensure equipment can be located with ease and as quickly as possible. The floor of the operating room has been mapped out to clearly show the area for the neonatal resuscitation team to work in, this comes directly from Williams’ floor map the team uses for their pit box at each race.
The neonatal team is also in the early stages of introducing Formula 1 communications and analysis techniques which includes the use of a “radio check” prior to a resuscitation. The team will also try and use more hand signals rather than verbal communication, and they will introduce video analysis to analyse performance following a resuscitation during their debrief meetings.
“Resuscitation of a compromised neonate at delivery is time critical, requiring the provision of efficient and effective resuscitation to ensure an optimal outcome,” specialist registrar in Neonates Dr. Rachel Hayward said.
“Delays in providing effective resuscitative care can have marked consequences on survival or the development of long-term complications. There is a growing amount of evidence to support a systematic approach to resuscitative care which is time-critical and dependent upon optimal team dynamics and clear communication.
“Analogous with the requirements of an effective pit stop we have worked with the Williams team to implement Formula One techniques and processes to augment neonatal resuscitative care.”
Williams Deputy team principal Claire Williams added, “When we were approached by the Neonatal team at the University Hospital of Wales last year to offer some advice we were delighted to assist.
“Their work is vitally important and the pressure they work under is difficult to comprehend; it’s a matter of life and death every day of the week. If some of the advice we have passed on helps to save a young life then this would have been an extremely worthy endeavour.
“We are increasingly finding that Formula One know-how and technology can have benefit to other industries and this is a great example.”
Images via XPB Images