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Paramedic Tara faces some tough decisions

Tara Murray, 23, says her normal working day as a Paramedic has been tipped upside down during the Coronavirus crisis.

The former Havering Colleges Sixth Form student studied the BTEC Extended Diploma in Science before going on to Brighton University.

She now works as a Paramedic for SECAmb out of Lewes Ambulance Station and says the COVID-19 pandemic has given her some tough decisions.

Tara, who lived in Hornchurch and attended Hall Mead School, says:  “It’s hard to put into words what my job entails as I attend so many different patients, all with different ailments and emergencies. Paramedics are trained in anatomy, pharmacology, knowing about and giving a wide range of drugs to patients, how to assess and help people in road traffic collisions, how to behave around and talk to mental health patients, how to recognise and treat strokes, sepsis, heart attacks, asthma, and also perform CPR and advanced life support.

“This by no means covers all the situations we are called to! It's a strange feeling attending a two-week-old baby with a rash, then rushing to the aid of a 99-year-old gentleman who has fallen and is on the floor.

“The COVID-19 virus has introduced something completely different and has tipped our ‘usual’ day upside down. Firstly, the PPE equipment we must wear is very uncomfortable and it’s difficult to work in a mask as it hides a lot of your emotions. It also makes it hard to breathe when carrying patients or heavy equipment. Everything now has to be doubly scrubbed and cleaned between each patient for fear of spreading the virus.

“It’s quite scary knowing you are facing someone who could possibly give you an illness you may not survive and then it’s also scary thinking I could be carrying it and unknowingly give it to one of my vulnerable or elderly patients.

“It has also messed with my decision-making. Some patients require hospital treatment but in some cases it may now be riskier to take them to A&E due to the virus. This leaves paramedics in awful situations where it’s Catch-22. It’s emotionally exhausting. It was hard having to learn how to protect not only myself from the virus but the patients too.

“Despite all this I do feel that the morale in the ambulance service at the moment is at an all-time high. I am receiving so much love, thanks and even gifts from the public, it makes me feel appreciated and extremely humble.

“And although I cannot see any of my family or friends for the foreseeable future, I feel fortunate that I have my paramedic family to get me through this awful pandemic. It is a very close-knit ‘family’ of people who have the same good, bad, sad, happy, frustrating and tough days, the same as I do.

“Even with the current situation, I am so glad I chose to follow a career as a Paramedic and take the BTEC Science at college. I can’t think of anything else I would rather do.”


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