When we think of bravery, dedication and heroism we usually think of the racers themselves, not the doctors. But Dr John Hinds was a unique individual who encompassed all of those qualities. A highly qualified anaesthetist and intensivist, he was known around the world for his innovative approach to trauma management. But what made him even more of a legend was his contribution to motorcycle racing.
Because Irish road races are so inherently dangerous, when an accident occurs, they tend to be life threatening. As a result the doctors need to be on the scene as quickly as possible (15 seconds or less). Making this even more of a challenge is the fact that Irish circuits can be a very awkward length - too long for an ambulance to be effective, too short for a helicopter to be a necessity (North West 200 aside). So the unique solution was to have fully qualified doctors on racing motorcycles.
Hinds was one of those elite ‘flying doctors’ who provided medical cover at road races all across Ireland. At great personal expense, Hinds would prepare his own superbike and attend as many races as possible. He was a fan’s favourite due to his enthusiasm for the sport and his full throttle riding style; all while carrying heavy medical equipment. He saved countless lives (racers and spectators) but remained humble at all times.
He was tragically killed in a crash at the Skerries 100 meeting in July this year, but in recognition of his achievements, he was posthumously awarded the BBC’s Unsung Hero award as part of the 2015 Sports Personality of the Year. His truly inspirational presentation at the Social Media and Critical Care Conference (above) in Chicago shows what an incredibly talented human being he was. For anyone that wants to watch more of his presentations you can find them here.