St John New Zealand

In many countries St John are purely a voluntary first aid organisation, but in New Zealand they run the entire country's professional ambulance service (except Wellington's). I've worked for them since 2005, coming out from a career in the London Ambulance Service and prior to that in Surrey (UK).

It was an interesting journey, but ultimately the right choice for me. This page will lead you to a couple of possible points of interest


In a shameless piece of self promotion, the first link is to the book I have written about my ambulance life. It gives a glimpse into some of the calls I've been to and lifts the lid a bit on what people think happens versus what actually happens. You Couldn't Make It Up is out soon.

Taranaki leads New Zealand in effective pathways and treatment of both stroke and heart attacks. Here is a link to a neurothrombectomy patient I treated and then flew to Auckland. It's live edited (and anonymised) footage of the removal of a clot from inside a cerebral artery (specifically the right M1/sphenoidal segment).

ECR thumb


In a slightly less dramatic vein (unless you're hit by it, of course) a 35 second video of some wild weather over Hawera ambulance station




PTSD

Over quarter of a century in and it does take its toll - suffice it to say that all the years of crap that I've seen and done as a Paramedic have caught up with me and it's not pretty.
I've had a very long career but it hasn't been without its cost. In around August 2018 I succumbed to PTSD as a result of some the things I'd experienced and had to take a year off getting some fairly major help. In the early stages the government programme that should have helped me failed spectacularly - so much so that their conduct made national front page news...

This is the very first part of my story.




As one of the most experienced and senior skilled Paramedics, everyone expects you to have it all 'together'; no one expects it when you fall apart through stress, exposure and early PTSD. However when you do and you make it public, it's worrying how many others are in the same boat but unwilling and/or unable to talk about it.

I kept a diary of my experience of PTSD. It's not pretty and it's very raw/unedited, but so many people have talked to me, thanked me for my honesty and told me their stories and about their own private struggles that I'm going to publish it so that anyone can see what I went through, how it affected me and the help I obtained.

I think one of the things I discovered was that you feel so unique and so on your own - and that no one else can understand - but actually the thoughts, feelings and reactions to most cases of PTSD are relatively similar, even if the circumstances that gave rise to it are different.
If you find it sounding familiar, or ringing any alarm bells, maybe talk to someone.

Irrespective of what caused your PTSD, the outworking of it can include nightmares, avoidance, anxiety, poor sleep, fear, depression, re-living it...I might not understand your initial experience, but I really do understand your symptoms...

I came through the other side after a really hard year of treatment. It's not always easy but there is always hope - and it's worth fighting for.

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