Durban - Durban - A week ago today, the world commemorated World Trauma Day and paid homage to the un-caped heroes amongst us.
We sat down with Kyle van Reenen, a well-known face in the Durban community who despite taking over the communication reins at Marshall Security and Crisis Medical, remains true to his calling - and that is to be a paramedic.
Why did you become a paramedic?
I enjoy helping people. To be able to assist a fellow human being in their hour of need is the greatest privilege one can ever have.
What has been the most traumatic experience that you have had as a paramedic?
In about 2013, I responded to a call for a serious motor vehicle collision on the N2 near Umkomaas. Two light motor vehicles had collided after a vehicle had done a U-turn. The driver of one of the vehicles was deceased on impact. The front passenger, a young mom was seriously injured whilst her two daughters approximately ten years old, were in a critical condition. We airlifted the one young lady and rapidly transported her sister via road. The patient we airlifted survived however is now a quadriplegic, her sister unfortunately died minutes after arriving at hospital.
In the second vehicle were a family of five. The driver was deceased on impact however the passengers, one adult and three children were entrapped in the wreckage which was well alight. Unfortunately we could not get them out and the family burnt to death in front of us.
On a day where it’s been raining, how many accident scenes would you normally respond to?
It can vary on the time of the year.and other factors but on an average day we will respond to no less than 10 motor vehicle collisions, bearing in mind that a lot of our call outs are public transport related and involve multiple casualties.
Emergency services workers put their lives on the line for others every day, do you think enough consideration or appreciation is given to medics?
The mere fact that people still refer to paramedics as ambulance drivers I would say no. If the public respected emergency services they wouldn’t drive in the emergency lane. People have no respect for emergency service workers, police and others in the field.
What five characteristics should a person possess if they are considering a career in the paramedic field.
Firstly you need to be a little crazy, if you not you will be in due course once you start that’s for sure.
But on a serious note, it’s not a career that will make you rich, not financially anyway. It’s not Grey’s Anatomy or Chicago Fire. The reality is you are going to work in one of the most dangerous industries in one of the most dangerous countries in the world. You will work in the worst environment you can ever imagine. You will fear for your life and there will be nights when you can't sleep because of what you have seen. But then there will be those days when you save a life, or you bring a life into this world. Moments that can't be explained with words. Those moments are why we do what we do.