Having just graduated with an English Language and Communication degree, the last thing I expected in my first office job, was to be observing some of the most talented Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM) doctors and paramedics in the UK; literally saving lives in front of me.
I had been in the Magpas Air Ambulance charity headquarters just over a month before I joined the Magpas medical team on a night shift. Imagine having absolutely no medical background and suddenly you’re on the side of a busy, unlit road in the middle of the night. Someone’s in agony, his arm is dislocated and broken in numerous places after being clipped by a lorry. Well, that was exactly my situation.
Fortunately for him Magpas Doctor Saad Jawaid and Critical Care Paramedic Dan Read were called. They sedated him at the scene, providing A&E level care on the road side and pulled his arm back into its normal position, potentially saving his hand. Within minutes his arm had regained feeling and colour, and he was in a comfortable condition when we took him to hospital.
The advanced medical team were also called to a man who suffered a cardiac arrest in his home. Saad and Dan provided him with CPR, general anaesthetic and intubated him in his hallway, taking control of his breathing. I watched them bring him back to life in front of his family. Another call-out involved all the emergency services; the entire scene was illuminated with blue lights. Ambulance crews, paramedics, police and the fire and rescue service were all there working together.
The way the specialist medical team behave and communicate in these circumstances is amazing. They develop a plan of action en route and carry it out seamlessly every time. The duo has an underlying level of synchronicity and you can see this demonstrated through everything they do at the scene. From navigating the precarious incident sites and helping to keep all the other emergency services on the same wavelength, to providing the patient with incredible treatments there and then. Ultimately, they always give the patient the best possible care available.
The things I experienced that night will stay with me for a very long time. It really hit home how much the Magpas team are faced with while everyone else is sleeping or going about their day to day life. In total we went to three incidents, all of which required the specialist care Magpas provides. I witnessed the team sedate patients, pull and splint broken bones, perform lifesaving CPR, accompany patients to hospital, and save lives. We travelled across several different counties and ended up in greater London. My 12 hour shift became a 15 hour shift. And it was all in a day’s work for the extraordinary Magpas Air Ambulance medics.