Paramedics sick of becoming the victims

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Expecting verbal and physical assault has become part of the job description for the men and women who we rely upon most to help in an emergency situation.

Our local paramedics come to work each day prepared to treat the ill and urgently care for those who have been injured – a job that should bring respect from others.

But statistics show that it is becoming increasingly violent and dangerous.

Assaults upon paramedics, of both the physical and verbal kind, are increasing dramatically for those out on the job.

In fact, it has become the norm.

Superintendent Jason Stone, who manages all the paramedics in the region, said that it seems as though people have a misconception about what paramedics do.

“I think the community needs to realise that we are the good guys,” he said.

“I know that in most cases when we go into an emotionally charged situation and we go into an environment that’s full of alcohol, their perceptions have changed but our role is to help the community.”

Mr Stone said it was unacceptable that paramedics should have their own lives put in danger when trying to help others.

“We don’t come to work trying to hurt people, we come to work every day trying to help them,” he said.

This year there have been 52 assaults on paramedics in NSW, a stark contrast to just 16 last year.

There have already been two major assaults upon paramedics in the local area including one just four weeks ago where a paramedic was kicked across a room by a drug and alcohol affected patient.

“As a manager of paramedics it is frustrating because we are trying to help people, to treat them for injuries and get them to hospital,” Superintendent Stone said.

“Whether it is a patient that is violent or a bystander that is violent, that is the most frustrating part of it because that is what is hindering the treatment for that particular patient.”

Under the Health Services Act 1997 it is an offence to intentionally obstruct or hinder an ambulance paramedic who is providing services to a person.

The offence attracts a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment.

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