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Media Releases | St John Ambulance
Remote emergency evacuation all in a day’s work for NT paramedics
  16 Aug 2023

St John NT and Alice Springs Helicopters joined forces recently in the emergency evacuation of a patient at a remote station, 130km from Alice Springs.

The Garden Station manager Jane Hayes recently reached out to thank St John NT Paramedics James and Paul and who came to her aid after a buggy accident at the property in June.

“I would like to give a huge shout out to Paramedics James and Paul, along with Alice Springs Helicopters who came out bush to pick me up after having an accident in my buggy causing a compressed fracture of my L1,” she said.

“Their care, reassurance and expertise certainly helped my painful situation, and it was good to know I was in safe hands and knowing my trip to hospital wasn’t going to aggravate my injury any further.”

Intensive Care Paramedic Team Leader James Rowland said two Intensive Care Paramedics attended the scene in a Bell 206 Jetranger helicopter.

“The helicopter was critical due to access, distance and the condition of the patient,” he said. “By road would have taken in excess of 2.5 hours to access in a 4WD as well as a minimum three-hour evacuation via 4wd track and dirt road which would have been painful for the patient and possibly caused further injury.”

He said that the regular emergency training they undertook prepared them for challenging cases and the healthy discipline required to enact the critical care skills in remote environments for patient extraction and treatment.

“Working as an Intensive Care Paramedic in Central Australia we prepare for challenging remote cases in a number of ways,” he said. “These include collaborating and participating in Central Australia retrieval training, participating in interagency emergency services training and taking part in the remote access team course which focuses on the clinical and physical traits of wilderness paramedicine and remote retrieval of critically ill and injured patients. We also conduct medical transport training and familiarisation with a local helicopter company.

He said that working as an ICP in Alice Springs was a challenging role with a variety of work environment, with no day the same.

“Some days you may be interrupted while scheduled to provide education to paramedic crews on station to treat a severe hyperkalaemia or a septic shock patient, while other days you could travel vast distances to treat a critically injured trauma patient with the added difficulty of 4WD roads, environmental challenges and lack of reception,” James said.

“At times we can also be tasked to search for an injured hiker on the Larapinta Trail in a helicopter or even hike a number of kilometres to access a patient and provide extended care. This can push you to your limits. We have to use all of our skills and knowledge to ensure the best outcome for the patient.”

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