A Doctors Account - BEEP Doctors Cumbria - Volunteer Emergency Doctors

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Seconds Matter – A Doctors Account

November 24th, 2020

A report from Dr Amit Paik about life as a BEEP Doctor.

When lives are at risk, seconds matter.


Research shows, the sooner sick patients can be provided with emergency care at the scene of an accident, the greater their chance of survival. We call this the “golden hour” in adults and even “platinum minutes” for children.


Many of us receive call outs around our already pressured roles within the NHS, often in the evenings and weekends. On this particular evening, my phone goes off. “Road traffic collision, Carlisle”. I contact ambulance control…


“Car vs Tree. Limited details. Ambulance crew 5 mins out.”


I agree to attend. It’s dark, cold and very wet. I grab my personal protective equipment to keep me safe on scene with a head torch, alongside my emergency bag. I fear the worst and adrenaline kicks in. Even the butterflies make their appearance.


Driving to the scene, thoughts go around my head about what I might expect to find on the scene. How many people are involved? What injuries might they have? What other BEEP colleagues could I call? Would our valued colleagues at GNAAS (Great North Air Ambulance Service) be able to assist if necessary? 


I radio “control” once on scene. It’s chaos and panic amongst a sea of blue lights. Two casualties are identified, and another already being attended to by our fantastic paramedic colleagues. Thankfully both patients are awake, interactive, though with one in considerable pain from a limb injury. Supporting paramedics, I assist with administering strong painkillers and reduce the discomfort they’re experiencing. This respite offers an opportunity to assess the casualty for “distracting” injuries – often not obvious when patients are in distress. Reassuringly, no other concerns are declared amongst the team. With some stability, they’re dispatched to our local hospital for further treatment. 


I finish up on scene and catch a brief chat with the police officer. The amount of vehicle damage was considerable, bringing home how lucky our patients were tonight. I clean up, re-stock and head home. 


I spend the journey home thinking about how different this job might have been if circumstances were different. Ultimately, I remind myself how offering care to those in need of help is the reason I love being a doctor. Pairing this with the aims of BEEP adds to this fulfilment, in what can be a really challenging situation. 


Every step of this call out makes use of our precious donations. From the personal protective equipment used to keep us safe on scene, the medical equipment required to help stabilise patients, all the way through to blue light equipment to get to our patients quickly.


Seconds do really matter in emergencies and your support is life saving. Virgin Money Giving | Donation | Donation amount