Stop and think: is it really worth it, paramedic advises

Acting officer in charge of Maryborough Ambulance and advanced care paramedic Jeremy Woods has seen a steady rise in the number of calls to treat victims of assault.
Acting officer in charge of Maryborough Ambulance and advanced care paramedic Jeremy Woods has seen a steady rise in the number of calls to treat victims of assault. Robyne Cuerel

JEREMY Woods has seen trauma in its rawest form, but 10 years into his career the advanced care paramedic still struggles to comprehend the damage a person can inflict on another.

Amid the road carnage, workplace accidents and various sicknesses which test the strength of the human body, few things are as troubling as dealing with a patient whose injuries could have been avoided had someone else simply made a "better choice".

In the years since he began working in Hervey Bay, the acting officer-in-charge of the Maryborough station has seen a steady increase in the number of calls to treat victims of assault across the region.

Whether it be in public view at a bar or club or behind the closed doors of a family home, the scene awaiting paramedics can be equally confronting.

Danger is often present, the pressure from family and friends to "fix" loved ones is immense and that's where training comes in.

"Through our training we learn to first look after our safety and assess the situation but also to deal with people at the scene, whether it be a wife who needs comforting or assurance or an innocent bystander who has witnessed a traumatic event," Mr Woods said

"You learn to be confident in your ability to do what's required even if there are 200 pairs of eyes on you."

While coping mechanisms are formed over time, Mr Woods admits that sometimes, especially when children and young people are involved, it's difficult to keep emotions at bay.

"We are still human beings... we know we have a job to do but we also know that you can't save everyone," he said.

"As a parent, when a child is hurt or when they have been exposed to something they shouldn't, it can be very distressing.

"Every paramedic is always going to have something that never leaves you but we have a strong support network and know that after any significant event, or an incident which someone has found difficult, there will always be people there to listen and debrief."

In some cases, tempers turn on those trying to help and the paramedics themselves become the victims of verbal abuse and violence.

It's an occurrence which Mr Woods said was becoming far too frequent and one which he is pleased the State Government recently legislated against.

Whatever the circumstance, Mr Woods believes the common thread in every act of violence is that it all can be prevented.

"Sometimes, an issue might seem much bigger than it is and the reality of the damage you could do if you injure someone else yourself is often clouded by alcohol," he said.

"Stop and think 'is it really worth it?'"

Topics:  ambulance officer #handsoff hervey bay maryborough paramedic

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