Flight Paramedic Daniel Barnwall

Flight Paramedic Daniel BarnwallAfter seven years as a paramedic, I was seconded to London’s Air Ambulance for nine months. It was an incredible opportunity. The service is unique because it only responds to London’s most severe incidents, like penetration wounds and car crashes. Being part of the advanced trauma team was exciting and frightening – it makes you build up resilience.

You get to do really cutting edge stuff with London’s Air Ambulance, like supporting the doctor during open chest surgery and blood transfusions at the side of the road. It’s advanced, so you get much more specialist training and you work with doctors at the scene. There’s only one helicopter for the whole of London but it can get anywhere in the city in about ten minutes. We take off from the 20th floor of the Royal London Hospital, into one of the busiest airspaces in the world.

The assessment process is rigorous. It tests how resilient you are and how you react to the unexpected. While training I was mentored by a lead paramedic and constantly reviewed and evaluated. You get a lot more exposure seeing lots of seriously injured people every day. The whole experience offered me continuous learning – I’m definitely a better paramedic because of it.