In recent times, we have all been shocked by the horrific scenes from attacks and disasters around the world. A friend of mine was the first paramedic on the scene at the Las Vegas mass casualty shootings, while another was the first to deal with the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack.
It’s inevitable that these events leave scars – and the overwhelming majority of people understand why. But there are other episodes that ambulance staff deal with on a day-to-day basis, that aren’t perhaps quite as spectacular, but can have a real impact on the paramedic involved.
Sometimes we take elderly people to hospital and, although they might not have suffered a dramatic injury, they need treatment and we escort them with the knowledge that they may never return.
In addition, watching someone lose their independence, or have their life transformed by illness or injury can really hit home. It is often the cumulative effect of less dramatic incidents rather than the major incident that impacts on our mental wellbeing.