Being a helicopter paramedic as stabbings get more prevalent

Every patient which helicopter paramedics treat are in a critical condition; injured by car crashes, industrial accidents and increasingly stabbings.

A man rescued from the top of a building and a person seriously injured in a lorry crash are among more than 5,000 people that its paramedics have aided.

One of those paramedics is Richard Company, from Reading, who has been saving lives in Berkshire for the last 11 years.

“Isolated stabbing incidents are unfortunately more prevalent than I’ve experienced over the years, not just Reading but the surrounding areas.

“It is something that we would definitely attended, given the skill provisions that we have.”

Those skills include delivering anesthetics, surgery on scene, carrying blood, using ultrasound and extensive training with medications.

“Obviously you have to mentally prepare yourself but because we are so well equipped for dealing with them it’s often a case of thinking what procedure will we do, what hospital will we take the patient to.

“You take your emotion out of it and think very much logistically and pragmatically about the patient. It sounds a little bit detached but you have to be when you go to these type of jobs.”

Richard explained how he would approach a car crash, a typical incident that the service is called to such as when a pedestrian was hit by a car in Headley East.

He said the team would work with the fire service to extricate a patient from a wreckage, before working with ambulance services to provide time-critical care on the scene or on the way to the hospital.

He may need use warming devises, to apply emergency anesthetic or use an ultrasound to detect internal heavy blood loss.

In this case he would treat the patient with blood and plasma, which air ambulance paramedics carry with them.

In Berkshire, the helicopter is an important tool to quickly transport patients to John Radcliff Hospital in Oxford, where specialist care can be provided.

Richard, who has been a paramedic for 13 years, said: “To start with it was quite a lot to take on, but you become quite resilient to it all after a while because you think pragmatically about it, you’re there to make things better,” said Richard, from Reading.

“I find that processing it is a case of I know that I have offered my best and I know that I’m very well equipped and supported.”

He added: “After you’ve done it for a few years, you have to bring a calming presence to it as well because there’s a lot of emotion on scene and us along with the ambulance service, police and fire have to convey a certain level of calm and professional ability.”

He said: “My colleagues and everyone involved, we talk a lot afterwards.

“It’s a very open crew room.”

Thames Valley Air Ambulance service, which works to save lives every day from 7am to 2am, is a registered charity, meaning most of its funds come from donations (which you can make here) and grants.

Doctor Asher Lewisohn of TVAA said: “Medical emergencies don’t stop for Christmas, so neither do we. Our crew work 365 days a year to keep you safe.

“By donating this Christmas, you will help us protect families in your community – it could be the best gift you give.”

Slough Observer | News