Advanced care paramedic Lauren Oates has been part of the Queensland Ambulance Service team in Gladstone for three years.
Advanced care paramedic Lauren Oates has been part of the Queensland Ambulance Service team in Gladstone for three years. Matt Taylor GLA310119PARA

TOUGHEST DAY: Paramedics outnumbered by critical patients

MULTIPLE cars had collided, five people were in a critical condition and just four paramedics arrived at the scene.

This was the most challenging incident Gladstone advanced care paramedic Lauren Oates has responded to in her three years in the role.

Confronted with the scene at Mount Larcom, 25 minutes north of Gladstone about two years ago, Ms Oates said they knew it was a challenging task at hand.

"We didn't have enough people to look at each patient so we have a triage we work through," Ms Oates said.

"When we're there to help people and we can't help everyone that's really hard.

"We want to do our best and sometimes your best isn't enough, but you work through that and work with the team you've got."

She said during all incidents they had a systematic approach, with the senior paramedics leading the team.

 

Advanced care paramedic Lauren Oates has been part of the Queensland Ambulance Service team in Gladstone for three years.
Advanced care paramedic Lauren Oates has been part of the Queensland Ambulance Service team in Gladstone for three years. Matt Taylor GLA310119PARA

"If you have a very, very critical patient and it's not likely they're going to survive because they have got something going on that we can't control, and you have four other patients who have injuries that are bad but we can manage, you can't put everyone onto that one critical patient and leave four that are likely to deteriorate," she said.

"It's a decision that has to be made and it is a very, very hard decision."

The 31-year old has been a paramedic for three years, and is stationed in Gladstone in Central Queensland where she completed her graduate intern program.

With a drive for helping and caring for people, the former Melbourne resident was a late starter in the field after deciding she needed more life experience before jumping into the role.

 

Advanced care paramedic Lauren Oates has been part of the Queensland Ambulance Service team in Gladstone for three years.
Advanced care paramedic Lauren Oates has been part of the Queensland Ambulance Service team in Gladstone for three years. Matt Taylor GLA310119PARA

While the regional job comes with its challenges because of fewer resources, it's a chance for paramedics to consolidate their learning and grow their skills.

Lauren said she can't see herself doing anything else.

"We don't have as many resources here, there's definitely been jobs I've had to respond to as a single officer like traumatic stabbings and that's quite stressful. You don't know what the scene is, you don't know what you're walking into, but you know ... the things you have to do but sometimes ... you have to prioritise what you have to do quickly.

"On the flipside of that, you do learn quicker, you pick up skills and you develop yourself really quickly."