Whats in the bag?

Putting it all together

Working out what goes where in the doctor’s bag can be a hassle.

There is no question that the bag needs to be well-organised and easily accessible – especially if it is needed in an emergency.

While the RACGP sets the standards for the contents of the bag, the style of the bag itself is a matter of personal preference.

Some GPs invest in custom-made, traditional style doctor’s bags, others use a large fishing tackle-style box, while some have devised their own carriers.

Costs can vary greatly, from a few dollars to many hundreds.

The gpkit retails for $620 and comes fully equipped (without the drugs, which are provided free of charge through the PBS)

The gpkit was designed by Sydney GP and hospital emergency doctor Dr Chris Cooper and was released in 2005.

Since then it has gathered momentum and thousands of kits have been sold. Dr Cooper says one of the main advantages of the kit was the fact that the company also provided a restocking service.

This meant that GPs did not have to buy equipment in bulk just to fill the bag.

“This can be financially much more viable,” he says.

“This is a critically important piece of equipment – it is infrequently needed but critically important,” he says.

“It can save a life. I have seen it.”

Source: Australian Doctor, April 2012. Amanda Sheppeard

Near-tragedy spurred GP into action

Working in Saudi Arabia 20 years ago, Dr Chris Cooper realised the importance of having essential equipment on hand to deal with unexpected emergencies, after a colleague’s child developed laryngeal spasm after falling into the family swimming pool.

Dr Cooper, now a Sydney GP and emergency department doctor, says his colleague was able to perform a tracheotomy and save the child’s life because he was well equipped with emergency supplies.

“It always begged the question for me and it’s haunted me ever since … what would I have done under those circumstances?” he says. “In emergencies, if you’re not well equipped, then you’re only a little better than the average passer-by.”

With this in mind, Dr Cooper was inspired to create a one-stop emergency kit for GPs, and the chance to put his plan into action came when he started lecturing in general practice at the University of Sydney in 1991.

During this time he established an emergency medicine course for GPs. Speaking to doctors at these courses, he realised it was difficult for GPs to put together their own emergency kits because equipment was difficult to source and surgical supplies were usually only available in bulk.

So in 1995 Dr Cooper worked with colleagues to produce emergency bags for GPs attending the course and now produces about 250 kits a year.

“We aimed to produce a high-quality emergency kit at a reasonable cost with everything doctors would need and space for emergency drugs, which are available to GPs free of charge through the PBS.”

Source: Australian Doctor, June 2007. Geraldine Kurukchi

Kit equips GPs to tackle emergencies

A Sydney academic GP has designed an emergency kit for GPs, after feedback that doctors were having difficulty putting their own together.

Dr Chris Cooper, a lecturer at the Department of General Practice at the University of Sydney, said many components were “fiddly and hard to get hold of but really essential to deal with an emergency in the field”.

“The critical thing in an emergency is you have to have things right there, well displayed – you have to know exactly where things are,” Dr Cooper, who heard the feedback while running emergency medicine courses, said.

“If you don’t have that, usually you’re little better than a passer-by. If you don’t have the equipment, there is nothing you can do.”

The kit is similar to a tackle box, with tools for maintaining airways in the top level, including four sizes of Guedel airways.

The second level has equipment for circulatory and intravenous access, including six sizes of cannula.

The bottom tier contains intravenous and doctor’s bag drugs set out and labelled.

Source: Medical Observer, October 2005. Katherine Fleming