In The Hunts Post’s third week of Magpas Month, which we have dedicated to the life-saving charity based in St Ives, HYWEL BARRETT meets a team that provides emergency care at the roadside. Just before their eight-hour evening shift, Dr Fiona Bowles and paramedic Adam Carr took time out to describe their lives as Magpas Helimedix.
FROM the Magpas Helimedix base at RAF Wyton, teams can reach anywhere in Huntingdonshire within minutes.
Dr Fiona Bowles and paramedic Adam Carr are two of more than 50 medical professionals at the charity’s disposal.
Dr Bowles joined Magpas last March on a six-month secondment.
After her spell, Dr Bowles stayed on and is still saving lives at the roadside with her teammate for the night Adam, who started with Magpas in September 2010.
The 32-year-old paramedic joined the East of England Ambulance Trust 10 years ago and works in the hazardous area response team, based in Melbourn, which requires specialist training to deal with situations such as explosions or with hazardous materials.
He said: “It is like on the first day they inject you with a drug that makes you addicted to Magpas.
“Joining Magpas is something I aspired to, as it is the best service. There is so much training and we learn so much from each other as well. Our teams aren’t fixed, so we work with loads of others. We all come from different backgrounds.”
The first time Adam encountered Magpas was when he started as a paramedic. He was called to an incident where a child was impaled on an indicator stalk in a car crash.
“There are times when you are glad to see someone from Magpas turn up, and that was one of them. It’s reassuring not just for patients, but for paramedics as well.”
Dr Bowles, 32, said: “Having worked in accident and emergency at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, you know if a patient has been brought to you by Magpas. You know everything has been done for the patient and they have been given the best care possible.
“Because we attend serious incidents, we get to see some horrific sights. But we have a lot of communication between teams and the rest of the volunteers so there is a lot of support, and we’re always learning, based on the events we go to.
“The worst incidents I have been called to are the ones where you’re not even allowed near the patient, like in a helicopter crash and there’s a fire or when it’s not safe — those are the ones that really stick in your mind.”
But there are others that are rewarding for the teams.
Dr Bowles said: “We were called to a patient who was trapped in the wheel arch of a lorry. If we hadn’t have turned up, he would have died. My team managed to treat him and get him to hospital and he survived.
“There’s not a service like Magpas anywhere else in the country — it is the leading force in emergency care — and it’s not just saving the patients today.
“We do a lot of research for pre-hospital emergency care, so Magpas is looking to save patients in the future as well.”
Adam said Magpas was indebted to its fundraisers to allow the charity to continue.
He said: “As a charity, we rely on the good nature of the people of Huntingdonshire because, if it weren’t for our supporters, including The Hunts Post, we would not be the best service in the country.
“It’s all because of people fundraising for us.”