Saving lives for 14 years
QUICK-THINKING and rational decisions save lives. And while this is no easy feat, for paramedic, Liesel Grantham, it's almost second-nature. Paramedics play a vital role in society and are some of our unsung heroes. Grantham, who is an advanced life support paramedic for ER24 South Metro, has been in the industry for 14 years.
She admits that during the Covid-19 pandemic, guaranteeing the safety of her patients, family and herself, is not an easy task.
“It is mentally, physically and emotionally taxing. We try to be well prepared, making sure we wear the correct personal protective equipment at all times, sanitise and disinfect our vehicles and equipment throughout the day. Initially every second patient was either Covid-19 positive or a suspected case. However, it has started to slow down a bit from around the end of July,” she said.
Grantham, who was born and raised in Mitchells Plain, said there's quite a bit of anxiety when picking up suspected Covid-19 patients.
“We are very much exposed, especially when treating a patient in a confined space such as an ambulance. We have to inform the hospital before bringing in a Covid-19 patient (whether it's a confirmed case or not). This obviously allows for the hospital staff to prepare adequately prior to our arrival.
"But a lot of the time the hospital is at full capacity and we're left with the task of finding the next closest, appropriate hospital that has space. Besides the Covid-19 cases, we still see our regular patients who suffer from heart attacks, strokes and other conditions. But the most important factor remains hygiene. We need to make sure we don't put any patients at risk, especially those with pre-existing conditions,” she said.
From a young age, the single mother of one, wanted to be in the medical field and help the needy.
“I've always wanted to be in the medical field and thought this would be a good fit. I like the fact that there's never a dull moment and I love the people I work with. There are so many stories I could tell, but I think the real “feel-good” moment comes from being a patient's first port of call when they're faced with an emergency. That look of absolute relief they have on their faces when they see that help has arrived,” she added.
Her colleague Stephanie Beukes-Arendse said she considers Grantham as her mentor.
“Liesel is an exceptional individual when it comes to emergency medical practice. You just know your patients are about to receive the best treatment and outcome post-injury or medical issue. Even after years in the service, she gets the job done, wasting no time and assists at best where she can,” she said.
She added: “Liesel is competent and as a female, she makes us all feel empowered, knowing this job is no longer a gender control occupation. We are honoured to serve our country and its people to the best we can”.
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