Patients ‘putting others at risk’ not calling triple-zero
A NORTH Burnett paramedic is pleading with his community to not take health emergencies into their own hands after witnessing several close calls this year.
Eidsvold acting OIC Wayne Harper has witnessed several unwell patients taking it upon themselves to drive to hospital when they're in duress.
Mr Harper wants to change his community's attitude to emergency situations, stating the "bush way of things" could end up becoming fatal.
For him, there are three objectives the Queensland Ambulance Service are trying to meet.
"Firstly the ambulance service is available 24/7, 365 days of the year," he said.
"You're not troubling us for calling us out, it's what we're here to do."
As a paramedic, Mr Harper would much rather have patients call them out to help in a time of crisis, rather than having something deadly develop from it.
"Secondly, the services we now provide as an ambulance are also pre-hospital services," Mr Harper said.
"They almost mimic the services that are available in hospital."
A common scenario he has witnessed is patients experiencing heart attacks driving themselves to hospital, rather than call triple-0.
Decisions such as this can have horrific consequences according to Mr Harper.
"The medications we carry allow us to begin treatment of a heart attack in the home, so if they meet the criteria, we have the medications that can stop a heart attack, and have them on the road to recovery," he said.
"On the flip side, if they don't call us and then drive to hospital and they're on the road, they're risking their lives and other people's lives."
Mr Harper went into great detail, explaining the consequences of leaving a heart attack untreated.
"The longer your heart is under stress because of that blockage, the longer it's suffering, which means more permanent damage," Mr Harper said.
"Once the heart muscle is damaged or dead, you can't grow it back.
"So if people administer these medications, it will be a better outcome for them, in the short term and more importantly in the long term."
These pre-hospital treatments vary depending on the emergency situation, with respiratory, neurological, and trauma medications also readily available.
"Thirdly, we know that country people are tough, and back in the day if a child had an ailment, we used that 'you'll be right' kind of attitude," he said.
"Children compensate for injury more than adults when it comes to trauma.
"This compensation can only go so far."
According to Mr Harper, children who suffer things such as asthma attacks or severe injuries can often deteriorate rapidly and irreversibly in an instant.
"Kids can just fall of the cliff, rather than decline slowly, so it's important that the community call us out to any injuries their children may suffer," Mr Harper said.
"We've seen a hell of a lot, so if we're called early, we can identify it on the spot, and provide that pre-hospital care."
Recent incidents including car crashes and suspected heart attacks in his area has prompted the acting Eidsvold OIC to provide this public service announcement to save lives.
"The earlier they call the better," Mr Harper said.
"The first hour is crucial, particularly with heart attacks.
"No two heart attacks are the same, you'll often feel a crushing chest pain which can radiate to all parts of your body.
"If this happens for 10 minutes, you have to call us as soon as possible."
If you are suffering from any type of physical pain or trauma, please call triple-0 as soon as you can.