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Reliving my scouting days on ambulance placement

Oliver Cubitt

Faculty: Health, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Allied Health and Social Care
Course: BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science
Category: Allied and public health

1 September 2015

Paramedic Science student Oli explains how being out on the ambulance sometimes brings back happy memories of being a scout.

If I haven’t made it clear in these blogs, I love my course and the fact that I am able to help people in their time of need thanks to everything I have been taught, both by the lectures on campus and by my mentor on the road.

One of the parts I like the most about this career path is that I'm not confined to a building or a desk but, in fact, anywhere can be my office, from a patient's house or place of work to public places, roadsides and the countryside, in the great outdoors.

The latter of these is probably my favourite place to work, probably because it brings me back to my scouting routes.

An eventful end to Year 1

My final call out of my first year as a student paramedic was to this kind of job. We had been on our way to a low-priority call when we were diverted to a call for someone who had fallen into a river and could not get out.

On our arrival at the scene we were greeted by the fire service and police, who had got the patient out of the river and warned us that he was intoxicated and aggressive.

A physical challenge

The next step was to get to the patient, and here comes the scouty bit: this involved climbing over a barbed wire fence (kindly covered by some of the firefighters' jackets) and then scrambling up a steep verge while carrying our response bag and patient monitor.

When we reached the patient, we were able to assess his basic observations, of which the only abnormality was that he was hypothermic. We removed his wet shirt and wrapped him in blankets to raise his temperature.

Next came the challenge of getting the patient from the top of this verge to the ambulance. This process reminded me greatly of some of the team-building challenges we would do at scouts, but with one big difference: we had the advantage of the fire service's wire cutters to make a gap in the fence to make the process slightly easier.

In the end it took me and my mentor propping the patient up at the sides with two firefighters walking backwards down the verge to prevent the patient from falling forward.

A happy ending

We dried him off in the back of the ambulance (which now felt like a sauna!) and further wrapped him in blankets before transporting him to A&E. His temperature continued to rise back to normal en route.

That is all from me now until the end of September. One year down, two more to go!

Oli studies Paramedic Science at ARU in Cambridge. Find out more about this and other degree courses at one of our Open Days.


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