The first time I did compressions on a patient who was in cardiac arrest, was whilst I was a Patient Transport Officer (PTO).

It was a regular patient of ours, whom we took to his dialysis appointment several times a week.

We’d only just arrived at the hospital with him & put him in his wheelchair, & when we were walking out – I turned to say goodbye to him and noticed he was slumped over in his chair….and unresponsive.

After alerting the hospital staff & assisting for almost an hour with the ‘Code Blue’….there was nothing more that could be done for him, and sadly – he passed away.

I still remember walking away & thinking to myself – “Doing compressions is NOTHING like on a mannequin.”

What added to that etched memory in my mind, was the fact that my partner and I (and all of the other PTO’s at the time) had become part of his life.

We weren’t just the ambo’s that took him to his appointment. In some form or another, we had become ‘friends’; and for that last chapter of his life….we were part of his story.

Over time, we had been able to share conversations about his life – and he had learnt about some of ours.

So, Patient Transport Officers – are SO much MORE than just the officers who transport the ‘non-urgent’ patients. Because in reality….they too, can come across car accidents, or incidents in public, or their own patients can have ‘turns for the worst’.

They are an enormously important part of the big scheme of things, and in reality…..I don’t believe that an ambulance service could survive effectively without them!

So a HUGE pat on the back and the utmost respect for all of the wonderful PTO’s out there, who not only do a wonderful job in transporting patients to and from their appointments…..but for doing all the little extra things, and going ‘above & beyond’ what’s expected of you.

It’s the little things you do that help to make your patients day that little bit brighter & easier, & that sometimes nobody is aware of.

So ‘Thank you’!

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My first fatality was when I was an ‘Honorary’ officer. ‘Honorary’ as in ‘Volunteer’. I chose to spend some Friday & Saturday nights early on in my career – not getting paid….to learn from my peers, and serve the community.

Admittedly, I was an ‘Honorary’ for a short time; but I admire those selfless people in the community who tirelessly give their most valuable resource….’their TIME’ – to help others in need.

The volunteer Ambo’s, Firies, SES, youth workers, Lifeline  call takers, suicide prevention workers, marine rescue crews…..and MANY more (that I apologise for not listing here!- but please know that what you do does not go unnoticed!),  – ALL deserve to be acknowledged and recognised for the wonderful contribution to society that they give.

They may not have the ‘knowledge, qualifications, or authority to perform certain skills/procedures’ as some others do…..but spare a thought that they still experience the same sort of horrific jobs as an officer who is paid to be there every shift!

What’s even more admirable – is that many of these volunteers, do so in their own towns and regions……and therefore sometimes the jobs they go to will sadly and tragically be of people they know and love.

… worst nightmare.

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I’d also like to make mention of ALL of the other roles that are links in the chain to helping people in the community.

It’s not only the frontline workers of the Emergency Services, the Nursing staff, the Doctors, the defence forces, or the obvious people that respond to the community’s call for help……it takes an ARMY of people to assist in that chain.

Whilst I don’t think I could possibly list them all here; please know that your work & contribution does not go unnoticed either!

The communications officers (EMD’s, Fire & Police dispatch), the people on the end of the ‘000’ line – before the persons call gets transferred to the Police, Fire, or Ambulance. The hospital clerks, the wardsmen, the receptionists of medical centres, the tow-truck drivers, the counsellors & psychologists, the drug & alcohol workers, the cleaners, the cafeteria staff, the radiology staff, the security staff, the lawyers, the prison officers, and the list goes on and on!

Like PTO’s and ‘Honorary’ officers, all of these occupations can be exposed to potential life-threatening events, through any means – whether they physically witness, or hear the event down the phone or through someone else, and therefore can also be at risk of psychological injury.

So please be aware, and reach out if you need to guys/girls!

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is a BIGGER perspective. Each and every role that there is in society – and has their own important part in the jigsaw puzzle of life!

So let’s say “THANK-YOU” more often to each other!

We are all important, and a little bit of appreciation – goes a long way!

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