HELPERS: Stanthorpe paramedics Andrew Bell, Ian Turner and Theron Goebel said their ambulance vehicles are full of life saving equipment which they can treat you with before even arriving at a hospital.
HELPERS: Stanthorpe paramedics Andrew Bell, Ian Turner and Theron Goebel said their ambulance vehicles are full of life saving equipment which they can treat you with before even arriving at a hospital. Liana Walker

Granite Belt residents aren't calling 000 when they need to

IT'S a frightening statistic that Stanthorpe paramedics want to change.

Less than a quarter of Granite Belt residents having symptoms of a heart attack call an ambulance.

The other three-quarters either drive themselves or have friends or family drive them, which Stanthorpe Ambulance acting officer-in- charge Andrew Bell said endangered the lives of themselves and others.

The paramedics believe too many people are risking their lives by not calling 000.

Their concern is backed up by Darling Downs Hospital Health Services data that shows in the past 12months, out of 162 people suffering cardiac chest pains, only 38 called for an ambulance.

Mode of arrival to Stanthorpe Hospital Emergency Department for possible cardiac pain over the past year.
Mode of arrival to Stanthorpe Hospital Emergency Department for possible cardiac pain over the past year. DDHHS Data

Mr Bell believes residents have a perception the paramedics are too busy dealing with other cases.

"We can prioritise our jobs. We can get to these people, start the treatment even before they've left home, which is a big benefit to the patient.”

He said the ambulance vehicles were equipped with life-saving medication that allowed paramedics to start treatment before arriving at the hospital.

"These drugs will not only save lives, they'll also improve the quality of life for those who do recover,” Mr Bell said.

Ambulance staff can also call a helicopter to rural properties to take patients straight to larger hospitals.

Critical care paramedic Theron Goebel was worried people were driving to hospital extremely sick because they didn't want to waste paramedics' time.

"It's not like that. We keep saying: I'd rather come out and assess you and say, 'Hey you're OK, we can take you to a GP or we can leave you at home and follow you up' as opposed to you driving in, having an accident,” he said.

"If in doubt, just call us. It's as simple as that.

"You do get greeted a lot with the comments people don't call us in the middle of the night when they've actually got the chest pain because they don't want to wake us up. No, we're a 24-hour service. We're there seven days a week,” Mr Bell said. Advanced care paramedic Ian Turner agreed. "We would rather deal with things when they're a problem at two o'clock in the morning than treating a crisis at six.”

He recently attended a man with chest pain and said the phone call meant the difference between life and death.

"He thought he just had chest pain from lifting heavy items and he arrested while we were treating him, not long after we walked in the door,” Mr Turner said.

"We were able to defibrillate him there and then, otherwise it would have been a fatality.”

In case of an emergency phone 000. For medical advice call 13 HEALTH

(13 43 25 84).

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